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- August 1-7 celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week
- A sharp decline in practice of breastfeeding has been observed worldwide
- Breastfeeding is an intimidating challenge for working women
New Delhi, August 2, 2017: August 1-7 is celebrated as World Breastfeeding Week. True, breastfeeding will lower chances of infant mortality and provide needed nutrition for babies, along with important immunity. Doctors have long propagated the importance of breastfeeding. Now which mother would not want the best for her baby?
WHO recommends breastfeeding for six months after birth. However, this comes as a daunting challenge for working mothers.
— WHO (@WHO) August 1, 2017
According to the Medela Breastfeed India Survey 2017, various factors are at play that are un-accommodating of this practice for a working woman, which include lack of extended maternity leave, unsuitable pumping practices and environment at the workplace, absence of crèches, breastfeeding information and minimal support, thus forcing them to make a choice between the role of a mother and that of a professional.
Fact remains that most working lactating mothers are breastfeeding their babies for the first three months and then shifting to formula based food because of the absence of time. It is also widely believed by working mothers that pumping and storing milk is not just a burdensome but unsafe practice, which is why the practice is rarely taken up once they begin work again.
While it cannot be denied that working mothers have a number of issues which can possibly prevent them from continuing to breastfeed, what must not be ignored is the fact that babies cannot miss their first breastfeed after birth. Colostrum, or the first milk, is a sticky, thick, and yellow transparent fluid and is touted as the first (and the most crucial) vaccine for the baby. This milk transfers antibodies and fighter cells from the mother to the newborn and provides protection against all types of diseases and allergies.
Despite the importance of breastfeeding, it has been observed in India that it is not initiated in the first hour following the birth of the baby.
According to the Medela survey, 36% of new lactating mothers from Maharashtra give formula feed to their babies in the first hour immediately following birth. The study further shows that around 27% mothers fed babies with formula feed on the doctor’s recommendation.
This brings to light the important role that caregivers play in encouraging and creating awareness about advantages of breastfeeding.
Breast milk is the best for the baby, the benefits of which extend well beyond merely feeding and nutrition. “WHO recommends babies should be exclusively breastfed for first six months of life and continue up to two years or beyond”, believes Dr. Ravneet Joshi, MD (Paediatrics) IBCLC at Manipal Hospital, Bengaluru.
Colostrum is all the needed nutrition for newborns. Breastfeeding not only improves the health of infants and young children significantly but also improves mental and cognitive development and promotes learning as well. Studies have shown that it is not only beneficial for the baby, but for the mother too. The experience is not just satisfying but also empowering for the mother.
— UNICEF India (@UNICEFIndia) August 1, 2017
In the prevailing scenario, there is an immediate need to revive the breastfeeding culture, making mothers understand the importance of Colostrum, and about the chance of bonding with the child emotionally.
The annual World Breastfeeding Week aims to emphasize that breastfeeding is not just a woman’s issue or sole responsibility; instead, it must be shared by all as it affects the planet and its people.
The global focus of World Breastfeeding Week 2017 is aligned with the UN Sustainable Goals (SDGs) with a focus on four thematic areas :
- Environment and climate change
- Nutrition, food security, and poverty reduction.
- Survival, health and well being
- Women’s productivity and employment.
For the same reason, efforts are being made in India and the world alike,
- GOT MILK EVENT- Scheduled for August 4 this year, it is organized every year in Cayman Islands (British Overseas Territory) during World Breastfeeding Week August 1-7 which takes the form of discussions and awareness campaigns on issues like breastfeeding in public.
- Royal College of Pediatrics’ and Child Health (UK) has suggested that young children be exposed to breastfeeding women to remove the stigma attached to the practice. It has also recommended that breastfeeding information is covered in personal, social, and health education classes.
- More than 100 doctors, nurses, and patients made a human chain in Telangana on July 31 in commemoration of World Breastfeeding Week to propagate breastfeeding information.
While Indian figures from the Medela survey are alarming, the situation is not uniform throughout the world.
Dr. Munish Kumar Raizada, a Board-Certified Neonatologist in Chicago, in conversation with NewsGram said, “In USA, for example, breastfeeding rates are improving. As per CDC data, in 2011, 79% of the newborn babies started to breastfeed while in 2013, this rate improved to 81%. Approximately 52% babies were still breastfeeding at six months of age.”
This is #BreastFeedingWeek.
Let us remember babies are born to be Breastfed.
Human milk is the best milk for newborns.
— Dr. Munish Raizada (@DrMunishRaizada) August 2, 2017
He believes that while there are positive signs, the society, and the world in turn, needs to fight the menace of artificial milk formula while also facilitating a change in the cultural attitude and stigma associated with breastfeeding.
Following its awareness, the advantages of breastfeeding are being discussed worldwide,
- Protects baby from a long list of diseases
- Protection from developing allergies
- Boost child’s intelligence
- Protection against obesity
- Lower baby’s risk of STDs
- Reduce mother’s stress levels and risk of post partum depression
- Reduce mother’s risk of developing cancer
– by Soha Kala of NewsGram. Twitter @SohaKala
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The National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), which confirmed the first two cases of the Omicron variant in Bengaluru on Thursday, is continuously monitoring the situation in four cities - Bengaluru, Hyderabad, New Delhi, and Pune. The NCBS is a part of a consortium of national laboratories performing genomic surveillance across four city clusters. The consortium was established four months ago with support from The Rockefeller Foundation's Pandemic Prevention Institute, and is led by the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) in Hyderabad.
Dr Rakesh Mishra at the CCMB said on Friday that the consortium is continuously monitoring the situation in all the four cities and has upscaled its efforts to sequence as many samples as possible Apart from the CCMB and the NCBS, the consortium includes CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology - IGIB in New Delhi and the Pune Knowledge Cluster, Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, and CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory in Pune.
The first case of the Omicron variant was detected in South Africa and reported to the World Health Organization on November 24. | Unsplash
The consortium is focused on upscaling genomic surveillance as part of national efforts led by the INSACOG - Indian SARS-CoV-2 Genomics Consortium - to respond to the Covid-19 pandemic. The consortium intensified its sequencing efforts after the World Health Organisation announced Omicron as a Variant of Concern. Such an intensified effort enabled the Bengaluru team at the NCBS, a member laboratory of INSACOG, in collaboration with Strand Life Sciences and the Bruhat Bengaluru Mahanagara Palike (BBMP), to detect, rapidly sequence and verify the existence of the omicron variant in samples from two Covid-19 infected individuals.
They hope this will aid in a rapid response to contain the spread of variants of concern. Prof Satyajit Mayor from the NCBS conveyed the information to local and national authorities, and the Indian government released a statement on December 2, all within four days of receiving the samples. Both SARS-CoV-2 genomes have also been uploaded to the global repository for SARS-CoV-2 sequences, GISAID, so that they can be publicly available to the scientific community, the NCBS said. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: Hyderabad, New Delhi, Pune, Bengaluru, The National Centre for Biological Sciences, Situation, NCBS, Omicron)
Never-before-seen concerts by renowned performers such as the Berklee Indian Ensemble and Women of the World, a collection of inventive artists from throughout the world, are among the highlights of The Museum of Art & Photography (MAP) Bengaluru's 'Art is Life: SoundFrames', a three-day digital festival in collaboration with Berklee College of Music.
MAP, is one of India's leading private museums dedicated to making art and culture accessible to a wide range of people. Sound of the City, a sonic public engagement in which composers and producers create music influenced by the sounds of cities across India (Mumbai, Bengaluru, Kolkata, and Delhi), is another collaboration between the two institutions. Songwriting, music therapy, and vocals are just a few of the immersive programmes offered as part of the cooperation event between MAP and Berklee.
The festival will take place from December 3-5, 2021, and will also provide a variety of music-related educational and immersive programmes. | Photo by Simon Noh on Unsplash
The festival will take place from December 3-5, 2021, and will also provide a variety of music-related educational and immersive programmes, some of which are co-sponsored by the Indian Music Experience (IME) museum. Art is Life: SoundFrames celebrates music and its power to bring people together as part of MAP's aim to bring art to the heart of the community and develop bridges between varied art forms and audiences. Over 25 events inspired by music will be presented over the course of three days, including concerts, performances, panel discussions, film screenings, educational workshops, and exhibitions.
More than 65 artists from India and around the world will perform at the festival, including SubraMania's Ambi and Bindu Subramaniam, Grammy-winner Ricky Kej, musical talents from IndianRaga, young Hindustani maestro Pandit Sanjeev Abhyankar, and the Durbari Qawwals of Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya Dargah." Register for the online festival at www.artislife.events. (IANS/ MBI)
(Keywords: art and culture, private museums, MAP, Life: SoundFrames, Music, India)
The World Health Organisation (WHO) on Friday warned that countries in the Asia-Pacific region need to strengthen healthcare services and focus on vaccinating their people, as the Omicron variant spreads globally and enters new regions.
In a virtual briefing, Takeshi Kasai, WHO regional director for the western Pacific, said that it is clear that this pandemic is far from over.
"I know that people are worried about Omicron. I understand. My message to you today is that we can adapt the way we manage this virus to better cope w/ future surges and reduce their health, social and economic impact," he said.
"We can adapt, so that #COVID19 has less impact on our lives in 2022, and we can start to regain - and hopefully retain - a sense of normality," he added.
Omicron cases have now been reported in India, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and South Korea, and new cases are being documented with each passing hour.
"People should not only rely on border measures. What is most important is to prepare for these variants with potential high transmissibility. So far the information available suggests we don't have to change our approach," he said during the virtual media briefing.
South Korea on Friday decided to tighten anti-virus measures from next week amid a surging number of Covid-19 cases and an emerging worry about the potentially more transmissible Omicron variant.
In India, after detection of the first two cases of Omicron infection in Bengaluru, the Karnataka Health department is now worried over 10 South African nationals, who have gone untraceable in Bengaluru.
A total of 10 persons suspected to be infected with Omicron Covid variant have been admitted to Delhi's Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital (LNJP).
The new super-mutant Omicron variant of Covid-19 can increase risk of reinfection by three times as compared to other variants of concern such as Beta and Delta, according to a preliminary study by South African researchers.
Keywords: World, Healthcare, Omicron, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Asia-Pacific region.