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Focus on nutrition

Six-month-old Sumit Murmu’s annaprasan or rice ceremony took place in the presence East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Himani Pande and a host of other government officials in Jamshedpur on Tuesday.

Celebrating their annaprasan were 10 other children as well, and the occasion was the closing ceremony of World Breast Feeding Week organised by the district social welfare department and Unicef. The concluding day saw lessons on breastfeeding being imparted to mothers and hundreds of anganwadi sevikas from all blocks of East Singhbhum. The programme was organised at Dhatkidih Community Centre.

About 500 sevikas attended the presentation so that they were better able to reach out to new mothers. A nukkad natak was also performed by local theatre group Path to convey the message. Pande, additional deputy commissioner Ganesh Kumar, and others were present on the occasion.

The district social welfare department along with Unicef had inaugurated World Breastfeeding Week on August 1 through various activities in rural as well as urban areas in the district. The activities were carried out in all 1600 villages in East Singhbhum with the help of aaganwadi sevikas and district co-ordinators.

“The motive is to make mothers aware about the importance of breast feeding. Lack of breastfeeding and additional care account for 19 per cent of infant deaths in India,” said Preeti Sharma, district co-ordinator of Dulaar, the Unicef project for nutrition.

A 20-minute documentary — Kyunki...Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai — was also screened on the occasion.

Kiosks were set up outside the centre to promote healthy and nutritious food that included leafy vegetables and cereals to be included in the daily diet. For the last week, rallies, wall writing campaigns and block level workshops on breastfeeding have been organised at the rural and urban levels.