Vedanta Aluminium promotes safer breast feeding practices among women in rural India

The company has embarked on several initiatives to champion breastfeeding among pregnant women and new mothers

Bhubaneswar, 11th August 2023: Observing World Breastfeeding Week, Vedanta Aluminium, the largest aluminium producer in India, has undertaken comprehensive endeavours to promote and support breastfeeding among rural communities in the vicinity of its operations in Odisha and Chhattisgarh. Focused on remote locations that have limited access to quality healthcare and often rely on unscientific myths for medical care, the week-long campaign was aimed at creating awareness among new mothers on the benefits of breastfeeding for both the mother and child. This would in turn contribute to improving overall maternal health and reducing infant mortality rates in the region.

Its efforts were centred around the company’s Nand Ghars, which are modernized anganwadis supported by Vedanta that act as free hubs of women and child development.Over 531 NandGhars supported by the company in Odisha observed World Breastfeeding Week in association with the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS) department of the Government of India, reaching out to more than 5,500 lactating mothers and children.Video demonstrations were organised, spreading awareness on topics such as lactating techniques, feeding frequency, complimentary diet, and others. The company also undertookan extensive door-to-door campaign to help spread awareness on better health practices on the occasion.

Over 35 rallies and community awareness meetings on breastfeeding were held at key community locations in Jharsuguda, Odisha alone, in addition to its door-to-door campaigns. They reached out to more than 400 community members and 60 PRI (panchayat raj institutions) members. These efforts were supplemented by the company’s Mobile Health Units, who reached out to very remote locations where residents are unable to access proper healthcare.  Further, more than 50 Auxiliary Nurse & Midwives (ANMs) and ASHA Workers joined the company’s efforts in educating community members by busting myths, highlighting the long-term health advantages for mothers and babies, and empowering women with the facts and methods they need to successfully sustain a healthy breastfeeding practice.

The Vedanta Hospital in Lanjigarh,Odisha which caters to nearly 60,000 people each year,also contributed to the occasion by conducting six impactful awareness camps, led by expert paediatricians and specialists. The campaign also included the distribution of vital nutritional supplements and dispelling myths surrounding breastfeeding. Experts from the BALCO Medical Centre in Raipur and the BALCO Hospital in Korba, both in Chhattisgarh, conducted awareness on breastfeeding and breast cancer awareness in several locations across the state. A health camp, featuring expert gynaecologists, was also organised in collaboration with the district health department. 

Speaking on the significance of World Breastfeeding Week,Dr. Dolamani Patel, Chief District Medical Officer, Jharsuguda said, “As we celebrate World Breastfeeding Week, it is crucial to highlight the importance and health benefits of breastfeeding for both mother and child. I commend Vedanta Aluminium for its unwavering commitment to promoting safer breastfeeding practices, which will further encourage the adoption of breastfeeding among mothers in the community.Their efforts have empowered countless mothers with knowledge and resources to take care of themselves and their children, thereby ensuring better maternal and child well-being, and fostering a brighter and healthier tomorrow for our communities.”

Vedanta Aluminium has deployed an extensive array of essential and specialized healthcare servicesencompassing the regions in and around its areas of operations:

·         Mobile Health Units: These are well-equipped mobile units that deliver basic doorstep healthcare services according to a predetermined schedule. The initiative benefits more than 54,000 people annually in remote villages across Jharsuguda and over 22,000 patients in 65 villages within Kalahandi district.

·         Nayi Kiran, menstrual health program: Deployed in Chhattisgarh, the project creates awareness on menstrual health & hygiene, builds capacity on manufacturing of sanitary products, and develops local champions of menstrual health.

·         Health Camps: Vedanta Aluminium regularly hosts large-scale health camps, in partnership with medical experts from its own centres and also from government hospitals. They provide free, high-quality healthcare in remote areas.

·         Sanitation Drives: To promote health and hygiene within the community, the company organizes cleanliness and sanitation drives. These initiatives encourage practices like proper handwashing. Additionally, employee volunteers contribute to cleaning and disinfecting drains and streets, contributing to the prevention of infectious diseases.

·         Rural Health Posts: Under its ‘Arogya Project’, its subsidiary BALCO is providing quality primary health care services through Rural Health Posts, benefiting thousands of people hailing from the neighbouring communities.

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