Infant and young child feeding practices among marginalized populations of Odisha, state in India

Sonali Kar, Sourav Bhattacharjee, PC Samantaray, Seba Biswal


A global strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding (IYCF) was issued jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in 2002, to reverse the disturbing trends in infant and young child feeding practices. This stands out as an extremely cost-effective and extremely advantageous method to bring down the infant and child mortality and morbidity especially in developing countries like India.Odisha, one of the states in India, records just 50% of exclusive breast feeding practice as reported in National Family Health Survey-3 (2005-6) and also accounts for one of the highest Infant Mortality Rates in the country. Hence the current studywas planned jointly by the Nutrition wing of UNICEF and Odisha Voluntary Health Association (OVHA), a Nongovernmental Organization which works for health programs in the state. A baseline study to assess Infant Feeding Practices thus was plannedfor 7 districts of the state and sampled so as to adequately represent the marginalized population of the state. A detailed questionnaire with information on sociodemographic parameters of the study population and questions that elicited informationon the infant and child feeding practices was designed and pretested in a sample population and a team of supervisors and data collectors were trained for the purpose. The study revealed district level data on the infant young child feeding practices in the state. Exclusive Breast Feeding (EBF) was calculated as 48% and early initiation of breast feeding was nearly 46%. The feeding indicators calculated for 6-23 months age group were of greater concern as minimum dietary diversity is reported 27.4% and minimum meal frequency is 29%. In spite ofthe provision of iron syrup and iron folic acid tablets under the flagship program of the country, that is, National Rural Health Mission, for 6-59 months children, the consumption of iron fortified foods is reported as only 6.8%. This could be the cause ofhigh level of morbidity reported in under five in the state. The data was presented to the state program managers inorder to prioritize the problem areas and take requisite steps at the district level to improve the IYCF indicators in their respective states.

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Journal of Epidemiological Research

ISSN 2377-9306(Print)  ISSN 2377-9330(Online)

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