To reduce childhood morbidity and mortality it is necessary to focus on avoiding malnutrition in children under the age of 2 years. Of all proven preventive health and nutrition interventions, Infant and Young Child Feeding Practices (IYCF) have the single greatest potential impact on child survival. Therefore, reduction of child mortality can be reached only when nutrition in early childhood and IYCF specifically are highly prioritised.
The government of Odisha has launched an IYCF initiative in the state as Project SURAKHYA. This initiative looks at strengthening interpersonal communication of frontline functionaries for counselling mothers and caregivers on improved IYCF practices. Simultaneously, it also aims to work with medical practitioners on ensuring compliance with the IMS (Infant Milk Substitute) Act.
The project aims to introduce, improve, strengthen, evaluate and sustain the key infant and young child feeding practices at the household and community level through:
- Survival, growth and development of children
- Early initiation of breastfeeding within 1 hour of birth
- Exclusive breastfeeding till six months of age
- Complementary feeding practices from the 7th month
- Breastfeeding till 2 years of age
All pregnant Et lactating women and adolescent girls need to counselled and made aware of the IYCF practices.