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AIMS Mohali holds 2-day training session for CHOs, to address breastfeeding challenges

Sahibzada Ajit Singh Nagar: Breastfeeding is a cornerstone of infant health and development, yet many mothers face challenges in either initiating or sustaining breastfeeding for the recommended six months. Recognizing the critical importance of breastfeeding and the need to address these challenges, the Department of Community Medicine at AIMS Mohali, in collaboration with DHS Punjab, has launched a pioneering project aimed at providing crucial support to breastfeeding mothers within the community.
The importance of breastfeeding cannot be overstated, especially in regionsBreastfeeding like Punjab where breastfeeding rates are still low. According to the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-5), only 51% of babies in Punjab are breastfed within one hour of birth, and a mere 67% are exclusively breastfed. This statistic underscores the urgent need to raise awareness about the critical benefits of breastfeeding and address the barriers that prevent mothers from initiating and sustaining breastfeeding practices.

Breast milk contains a perfect balance of nutrients tailored to meet the baby’s evolving needs, promoting optimal growth, cognitive development, and protection against childhood illnesses such as diarrhea, respiratory infections, and malnutrition. In addition to benefiting infants, breastfeeding also offers numerous advantages for mothers. It helps in postpartum recovery by promoting uterine contraction and reducing the risk of postpartum hemorrhage. Breastfeeding is also associated with a lower risk of certain cancers, including breast and ovarian cancer, and aids in maternal bonding and emotional well-being.

Given the significant health benefits of breastfeeding, efforts must be intensified to promote and support breastfeeding practices in Punjab. This includes implementing policies and programs that create a supportive environment for breastfeeding mothers, such as ensuring access to lactation support services, promoting breastfeeding-friendly workplaces, and dispelling myths and misconceptions surrounding breastfeeding. Educating healthcare providers, families, and communities about the importance of early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding is also critical. By raising awareness and addressing problems to breastfeeding, we can strive towards improving breastfeeding rates in Punjab, ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life and a brighter, healthier future.

Funded by MRHRU Punjab, the project focuses on establishing supportive community linkages to address breastfeeding issues effectively. To achieve this goal, Community Health Officers (CHOs) and ANMs are being trained in managing breastfeeding problems and facilitating linkages with District Hospital Mohali.

A pivotal milestone in this endeavor was the two-day training session held for CHOs of Mohali district, jointly organized by the Departments of Community Medicine, Pediatrics, and Gynecology at AIMS Mohali, in collaboration with DHS Punjab, on 3rd and 4th May 2024. Dr. Anuradha Nadda, the Principal investigator of the project, underscored the importance of supportive community linkages in addressing breastfeeding challenges.

The training session was inaugurated by Dr. Bhavneet Bharti Director Principal of AIMS Mohali along with Ms Suman Medical Social worker PGI Chandigarh provided insights into managing common breastfeeding issues such as sore nipples and insufficient milk supply. Dr. Amrit Virk, Head of the Department of Community Medicine, stressed the vital role of family and community support in establishing and sustaining breastfeeding practices. The event was graced by the esteemed presence of Dr. Davinder Kumar Puri, Civil Surgeon Mohali, who emphasized the pivotal role of Community Health Officers in addressing breastfeeding challenges at the grassroots level. The training emphasized the skills regarding managing nipple & breast issues, the technique of breastfeeding, care of low birth babies in the community and breastfeeding in special circumstances like HIV, TB, Hepatitis B positive mothers etc.

Dr. Girish Dogra, District Immunization Officer, Dr. Subhash Kumar, District Health Officer, and Dr. Tammana, District Family Planning Officer, Dr Deepak Chawal Prof and Head Neonatology GMCH 32 also lent their support to the initiative, reaffirming the collective commitment to promoting breastfeeding and improving maternal and child health outcomes in Punjab.

This collaborative effort signifies a significant step forward in addressing breastfeeding challenges and nurturing a healthier future for our children. We remain steadfast in our commitment to supporting breastfeeding mothers and ensuring the well-being of our youngest citizens.

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