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In Rajasthan’s govt hospitals, women to be discharged only if found fit to breastfeed newborns

According to a health department order, beginning September, new mothers will be discharged only after the consulting doctor stamps the discharge form that they are capable of breastfeeding and the milk bank counsellor certifies it.

jaipur Updated: Aug 21, 2018 00:48 IST
P Srinivasan
P Srinivasan
Hindustan Times, Jaipur
breastfeed,newborn,Rajasthan
Mumbai, India - July 11, 2018: New born babies on World Population Day at Wadia Hospital, Parel in Mumbai, India, on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. (Photo by Pratik Chorge/Hindustan Times)(Pratik Chorge/HT Photo)

Women delivering babies at government hospitals in Rajasthan’s 18 districts will be discharged only after they are found fit to breastfeed the newborns.

According to a health department order, beginning September, new mothers will be discharged only after the consulting doctor stamps the discharge form that they are capable of breastfeeding and the milk bank counsellor certifies it.

New mothers will also need to sign their commitment on the discharge ticket that they will exclusively feed the baby breast milk for six months.

However, women who insist on getting discharged despite their inability to breastfeed will be sent home, but categorised as DOR (discharge of request) and LAMA (leave against medical advice) patients.

Doctors said common problems due to which women are unable to breastfeed their babies are engorgement, mastitis, breast abscess, less lactation, retracted and inverted nipples, sore nipples, cracked nipples. Babies born with cleft lip and palate are also unable to suckle at their mother’s breast.

Rajasthan has the biggest network of mother milk banks in Asia. Eighteen government hospitals in the state have the milk banks and the order applies to these 18 districts.

According to health department data, 3,89,565 deliveries took place at government hospitals in these districts, and 25.18% of these (73,138 women) needed help from the breastfeeding clinic at the milk banks to feed their babies.

The government’s order is aimed at ensuring that all such women leave the hospital only when they become fully capable of breastfeeding, said Devendra Agarwal, an adviser to the state health department for mothers’ milk bank project.

He added that since the inception of mothers’ milk bank in 2015-16 in the state, 73,168 mothers have been trained to and helped with overcoming lactation problems through 1,65,000 sittings.

Agarwal said women who are unable to breastfeed their babies even after assistance from breastfeeding clinics , will be reported to the medical officer in charge of the milk bank, who will decide the future course of action.

Doctors said that exclusive breastfeeding for six months of birth is directly related to neonatal mortality rate (NMR) and malnutrition in children.

According to Health Index Report, released by the NITI Aayog in February 2018, 30 babies out of every 1,000 live births die in 1-28 days. As regards nutrition, 39.1% of children are stunted and 23% of children are wasted, as per National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-16).

Among other initiatives to cut NMR, Rajasthan has banned the use of formula, dairy (packed and open), cow, goat and other milk at government hospitals in the 18 districts. If a woman is unable to breastfeed, her baby is given donated mother’s milk from the bank.

Mothers milk banks are located at Beawar (Ajmer), Alwar, Banswara, Baran, Barmer, Bhilwara, Bharatpur, Bundi, Chittorgarh, Churu, Dholpur, Jalore, Karauli, Rajsamand, Sawai Madhopur, Sirohi, Tonk and Udaipur.

All banks have breastfeeding clinic services to help women who have difficulty in feeding their newborn babies.

Apart from this, breastfeeding clinic services will be set up at 25 high delivery load health facilities in the state by the end of this financial year.

First Published: Aug 21, 2018 00:48 IST