THE OCCURRENCE of diarrhoea was found to be three times higher among children who were fed Breast Milk Substitutes (BMS) than those who were breastfed during the post-Tsunami crisis when many mothers stopped breast-feeding and preferred BMS offered by international agencies, said Dr B Adhisivam from Mahatma Gandhi Medical College and Research Institute, Pondicherry.
“Nearly 30 per cent mothers did not breastfeed for six months, 58 per cent bottle fed their children and 51 per cent fed formula food to their infants.
The occurrence of diarrhoea was three times higher in children who were fed BMS,” Dr Adhisivam said during his presentation on ‘Feeding Infants and Young Children in Tsunami Affected Villages in Pondicherry’ on the second day of the symposium on nutrition by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) at the MGM Medical College here today.
A study was conducted in four villages of Pondicherry where aid poured in from various agencies both government and private, NGOs and international agencies following the Tsunami devastation.
Dr Adhisivam, who is also a paediatrician, said, “In those villages where a pre-existing tradition of artificial feeding is present, infants are at a greater risk during a crisis situation like Tsunami.”
The study also pointed out the adverse effects of a blanket distribution of BMS by international agencies during disasters tends to affect local habits and increases the incidence of diarrhoea.
Dr R M Pandey from AIIMS, New Delhi, in his paper on ‘Biostatistical Tools’ dwelt on various research methodologies on how to conduct case studies. He also elaborated on conducting randomising control trials for any study.
The other experts who spoke today included Dr G N V Brahmam, Dr A K Susheela, Dr Sangeeta Adak, Dr B N Mahanta and Dr R K Bishwalata among others.
As part of its continued research programme in Reproductive Health and Nutrition, particularly in the north-east region, the ICMR along with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and UNICEF, has organised the symposium-cum-training programme for capacity building for region’s young scientists for carrying out nutrition research.