The project will train 2000 breastfeeding counselors over a span of 2 years in India. BPNI's four- day skill training program will be used to empower existing health workers like Accredited Social Health Activitists (ASHAs), Auxiliary Nurses and Midwives (ANMs) and Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) to become counselors (30 counselors/batch with 3 trainers).They will be enabled to help mothers to follow good breastfeeding practices and avoid harmful formula feeding and thus prevent disease and deaths.
Out of 26 million born in India, 20 million follow inappropriate feeding practices by 6 months and this has a major role in determining their health, nutritional status and brain development. Majority of disease and deaths are linked with poor feeding practices during the first year of life. Factors that lead to this are lack of support at birth & later in health systems and aggressive promotion of baby food companies. Mothers and children will be most benefited with improved practices.
These counselors will help mothers to make appropriate infant feeding choices and avoid harmful practices as well as solve their breastfeeding problems practically. They will provide support to initiate breastfeeding at birth, skilled counselling to maintain exclusive breastfeeding for six months, and give counseling on appropriate and adequate complementary feeding after six months along with continued breastfeeding for two years or beyond.
When feeding practices improve it reduces both disease and deaths in the population served. Through this project 2000 counselors will be touching the lives of at least 20,000 women every day. Evidence shows that 40% of newborn deaths can be reduced if all newborn begin breastfeeding within 1 hour. Our intervention will help reduce diarrhea and pneumonia cases(short term),obesity (26%), type 2 diabetes(35%),breast cancer(7%) and a 3 point increase in IQ in all children rich or poor (long term).