WBTi Initiative on Infant Feeding


Health Minister, Shri J P Nadda has informed that there is no WHO report on Infant Feeding. However, the World Breastfeeding Trends Initiative (WBTi) is adapted from the World Health Organization (WHO) tool and developed by International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN) Asia for assessing and monitoring the state of implementation of the Global strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding in 100 countries. The 4th assessment of WBTi for India, carried out in 2015, mentions lack of monitoring and evaluation of the Infant & Young Child Feeding components in government health and nutrition programme.

Early breastfeeding is monitored through Mother and Child tracking systems and Health Management Information System.

Following efforts are being undertaken to monitor and successfully implement Infant & Young Child feeding practices, apart from mentioned above:

i. National Guidelines on Infant and Young Child Feeding, 2006, have been issued by the Ministry of Women and Child Development, to emphasise appropriate Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) practices. The Ministry of Health & FW has also released guidelines on Enhancing optimal Infant & young child feeding practices in 2013.

ii. Reproductive Maternal Newborn Child and Adolescent Health (RMNCH) counsellor is provided at high case load delivery points for counselling and support to lactating mothers on breastfeeding.

iii. Incentive is provided to ASHA under the Home Based New-born Care programme for promotion of IYCF through home visits, upto 42 days after birth. Extended visits for low birth weight babies and babies discharged from Special New-born Care Units (SNCU) upto two years of age are also carried out to ensure IYCF practices as part of package of services.

iv. Counselling and support for IYCF is provided at each contact point such as immunization, weighing etc.

v. IYCF training is provided to frontline workers and Staff Nurses for capacity building.

vi. Infant Milk Substitutes Feeding Bottles, and Infant Foods (Regulation of Production, Supply and Distribution) Act, 1993, as amended 2003, has been enacted in the country to protect and promote breastfeeding and ensure proper use of infant foods.

vii. Recently, the National Steering Committee on Infant and Young Child Feeding and National Coordination Committee on Infant and Young Child Feeding have been notified to give policy guidelines, coordinate and integrate all activities relating to breastfeeding and IYCF and advise on measures to promote breastfeeding.

viii. The restructured ICDS Mission also aims to increase Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices in the country. Under the Care and Nutrition Counselling component, focus is to provide counselling to women on issues relating to infant feeding practices. Under the Mission, there is also provision of an additional Anganwadi Worker in 200 High Burden Districts of the country for imparting counseling and behavior change communication through community and home visits as well as demonstration of appropriate feeding practices.

ix. Indira Gandhi Matritva Sahyog Yojana (IGMSY), is a centrally sponsored Conditional Maternity Benefit scheme for pregnant and lactating women, aims to improve nutritional and health status of pregnant and lactating women across the country by partly compensating for their wage loss. The scheme encourages women to follow optimal Infant and Young Child Feeding practices including early and exclusive breast feeding for the first six months. The scheme is now operational in 53 selected districts across the country.

x. “World Breastfeeding Week” is celebrated every year from 1-7 August by organizing various activities such as State level Workshop/ Seminar, lecture-cum-practical demonstration, etc. for creating greater awareness. Awareness is also generated through audio-visual medium for promotion of optimal IYCF. IYCF promotion activities are also carried out under the Intensified Diarrhoea Control Fortnight (IDCF) implemented during last week of July and first month of August.

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