Breastfeeding is the normal way of providing young infants with the nutrients they need for healthy growth and development. Virtually all mothers can breastfeed, provided they have accurate information, and the support of their family, the health care system and society at large. There was a universal campaigning about breastfeeding as' World Breastfeeding Week, 2014', which was held from August 1-7, 2014, around the world. Among the various programs that were held in Nepal, one of them was the seminar on this topic which was organized by ACORAB and CIN at Hotel Himalaya on 7th August , 2014.
With the slogan 'Breastfeeding- the winning goal for life', the seminar was all about awareness and discussions about the key issues of breastfeeding. Four informative presentations were made on the topic by- Ms. Ishwori Devi Shrestha- Chief nurse administrator at Ministry of health, Dr. Aruna Uprety-Nutrition expert, Prof. Kiran Bajracharya- President of midwifery society of Nepal and Mr. Soham Subedi- Coordinator of CIN. According to the census of 2011, only 45% of women breastfeed their child within an hour of birth. The key issue that all the presenters presented was about to inform people about the importance of breastfeeding and the role of communication to aware them about it in their own language.
According to the first presenter- Ms. Ishwori Devi Shrestha, she focused mainly on the education and awareness regarding the topic. She also shared her personal experience about her visit to Prasuti Griha- maternity and women's hospital and even the nurses there were unaware about the importance of breastfeeding. She emphasized that the topic of breastfeeding should be included on the syllabus as well.
Dr. Aruna Uprety started her presentation with her own personal story that how she neglected breastfeeding at the time of her own postnatal period and how much she regrets for that till the time. She mentioned breastfeeding as the infant's first immunization against all the diseases and weaknesses. But in some places of our country even the nurses prescribe to feed the artificial milk rather than the natural one. She claimed the fake advertisement of health drinks that influence people to buy such products and feed their children. According to her, such artificial milk products are nothing more than 'the baby killers'.
In the third presentation, Prof. Kiran Bajracharya gave brief introduction related to midwifery. She mentioned that breastfeeding is related to all the Millennium Development Goals, as healthy children mean healthy citizens in future, which will be a country's important assets for development. She also stated that a mother should be provided with emotional support by all the members of the family to manage, sustain and initiate breastfeeding.
Awareness is almost impossible in the absence of communication and media. The fourth presentation was about the role of media in creating awareness about breastfeeding. The presentation was made by the coordinator of CIN, Mr. Soham Subedi. There are253 radio stations running across 74 districts of Nepal which covers 90% of the total population, under one professional association- ACORAB and one satellite network- CIN. He also presented some audios in his presentation. According to him media also plays an important role in creating awareness and awareness should be made in their local language so that they can simply understand it.
After all the informative presentations, there was a question-answer round between the audiences and the presenters where different questions were raised regarding the topic to the presenters. After the interactions, they all came to a conclusion that education and awareness are not enough. Mainly, what we need is transformation in our society that should start from us within. After that honorable chief guest, Minister of Health and Population Mr. Khag Raj Adhikari gave a speech about the importance of breastfeeding and health. And how it is decreasing these days due to more focus of the mothers on their outer beauty. He also mentioned about the gender discrimination, that start right from the birth in our society and it is deep rooted in our culture. Such social evils should be moved out through effective campaigning and should be supported by government as well.
As the conclusion, both governmental as well as non-governmental actors play the important role in creating awareness and transforming the society through new path. Breastfeeding is undoubtedly the first immunization for the infants and it should be carried out at least for the first 6 months. The key issues discussed were the hesitation of mother and unawareness, such hurdles should be moved out by the help of proper awareness and support through media as well as through the governmental and non-governmental bodies. ACORAB chairperson, vice chairperson, Executive Director and AMARC vice chairperson Min Bahadur Shahi highlighted on the possible relationship between breast-feeding and communication.
For Photo please visit below link: