The Centre has accorded high priority to address maternal and child under-nutrition through multi-sectoral interventions and has recognised nutrition as critical for ensuring child survival and development, Union Health Minister J P Nadda said.
“It (addressing the issue of under-nutrition) is the corner stone of care for childhood development, improving child survival and promoting healthy growth and development,” Nadda said. Addressing the participants at ‘Global Meeting on Complimentary Feeding’ organised in Mumbai by Maharashtra’s Health Department in association with UNICEF, he said that major intervention to rectify the global burden of under-nutrition is to improve infant and young child feeding practices.
The minister said that first two years of a child’s life are particularly important, as optimal nutrition during this period lowers morbidity and mortality, reduces the risk of chronic disease, and fosters better overall development. “Even in resource poor settings, improved feeding practices can lead to improved intakes of energy and nutrients, leading to better nutritional status,” Nadda observed.
The stakes are high for accelerating progress to improve complementary feeding in children from 6-23 months. To date, a variety of programmes to improve complementary feeding practices have been implemented all over the world, an official release said.
State Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, Health and Family Welfare Minister Deepak Sawant, Rural Development, Women and Child Welfare Minister Pankaja Munde and Karin Hulshof, Regional Director, UNICEF, South Asia were present at the meeting.
The recent national estimates of Rapid Survey of Children (2013-14) shows improved rates of breast-feeding, indicating that the rate of initiation of breast-feeding within one hour of birth was 44.6 per cent, exclusive breast-feeding 64.9 per cent and complementary feeding 50.5 per cent, the release added.
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