Government has launched National Breastfeeding Promotion Programme– MAA (mothers’ absolute affection) to ensure adequate awareness is generated among masses, especially mothers, on the benefits of breastfeeding.
About this programme:
- “MAA-Mother’s Absolute Affection'’ is a nationwide programme launched in an attempt to bring undiluted focus on promotion of breastfeeding and provision of counselling services for supporting breastfeeding through health systems.
- The programme has been named ‘MAA’ to signify the support a lactating mother requires from family members and at health facilities to breastfeed successfully.
- The chief components of the MAA Programme are Community awareness generation, Strengthening inter personal communication through ASHA, Skilled support for breastfeeding at Delivery points in Public health facilities, and Monitoring and Award/recognition.
- The goal of the Programme is to enhance optimal breastfeeding practices, which includes initiation of breastfeeding within an hour of birth, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, and continued breastfeeding for at least two years.
- The government will train nurses in government hospitals, Accredited Social Health Activists (ASHA), Auxiliary Nurse Mid-wives (ANM) to provide relevant information and counselling support to mothers for breastfeeding.
- Monitoring and impact assessment is also an integral part of MAA programme. Progress will be measured against key indicators, such as availability of skilled persons at ground for counselling, improvement in breastfeeding practices and number of accredited health facilities.
- Dedicated funds— Rs 4.3 lakhs per district, have been allocated to states for the programme, which is in addition to the funds approved under National Health Mission’s annual project implementation plans.
- To ensure effective roll-out of the programme ministry of health has established MAA secretariat and a steering committee will be created in all states and at the district level.
- The programme will be monitored by UNICEF and other partners. Unicef has roped in actor Madhuri Dixit as brand ambassador to promote breastfeeding.
- Breastfeeding is central to improving child survival. Poor breastfeeding practices contribute to about 13% of child deaths. MAA-Mother’s Absolute Affection'’ is launched to create an enabling environment to ensure that mothers, husbands and families receive adequate information and support to promote breastfeeding practices.
- Breastfeeding is a child’s first inoculation against death, disease and poverty and according to the latest scientific evidence; breastfeeding is most enduring investment in physical, cognitive and social capacity development.