Grassroots Support Ecosystem for Breastfeeding Initiation
Ensure mothers have a supportive environment that turns “knowledge into action” - early and continuous breastfeeding from hospital to home
Pitch us on your solution
Despite immense work done in the promotion of breastfeeding best practices known to help babies and children survive and thrive, adoption and retention has been inhibited by outdated and misguided practices (institutional and cultural); in low and middle income countries, less than 37% of infants are exclusively breastfed for the first six months.
Our grassroots support ecosystem catalyzes the leap from knowledge to action to improve the uptake and quality of breastfeeding in India by engaging all caregivers (moms, healthcare workers, families) with comprehensive, culturally-appropriate tools and training that initiate of exclusive and continuous breastfeeding during the critical transition from hospital to home, while promoting dignity and gender equality.
This contribution to increasing global rates of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months to 50 percent by 2025 could help save the lives of 520,000 children under five, potentially generating US$300 billion in economic gains over 10 years.
What is the problem you are solving?
Around 13% of deaths in children under five are attributed to poor breastfeeding practices. Despite immense work done in promoting breastfeeding as a “best practice” for child development, no country in the world fully meets recommended standards and six-month continuation rates remain low in most countries.
In the world’s largest emerging economies (China, India, Indonesia, Mexico and Nigeria), lack of investment in breastfeeding results in an estimated 236,000 child deaths per year and US$119 billion in economic losses. In India, only 65% of children are exclusively breastfed for the first six months. While the Indian government pushes for institutional deliveries (around 79% in the country), breastfeeding is initiated within one hour of birth in only 45% of cases.
Breastfeeding exclusively for six months depends on mothers carrying out very specific behaviors (i.e. initiation in the first few hours of birth and regular feeding every 3-4 hours in the initial hours and weeks) - by failing mothers and babies at this critical time, we fail to leverage one of the most natural and cost-effective interventions for child survival, while alternative behaviors (e.g. bottle or formula feeding) end up having more appeal to the individual than life-saving practices.
Who are you serving?
We aim to intimately and purposefully engage with mothers, community health workers, fathers and other family members around the merits of considering, adopting, and carrying out the specific behaviors on which the ability to breastfeed exclusively for six months depends. Beyond informing and increasing awareness of best practices, our approach is based on listening to our stakeholders and beneficiaries to develop and pilot realistic and appropriate behavioral recommendations. It is first in listening to them we will learn how they wish to be engaged.
We also intend to engage broader stakeholders that have influence on the ability of healthcare providers and families to initiate and sustain breastfeeding. We intend to share key learnings and results from the proposed project by hosting a roundtable that engages health professionals working in maternal and newborn health from the public, private and nonprofit sectors to act as a support network to improve and grow the innovation, using their influence to advocate and spread breastfeeding messages and promote cutting edge tools for adoption such as our training.
What is your solution?
Our grassroots support ecosystem is designed to translate globally recommended best practices and breastfeeding rhetoric (e.g., “breast is best”) into reality for mothers and babies in India, building on our proven model for developing and distributing integrated products and education Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, and Adolescent Health (RMNCH+A) in low-resource settings. Using this platform, we aim to deliver cutting edge breastfeeding science via engaging tools and training that support mother initiating breastfeeding in the critical initial hours and weeks after birth.
Develop plan to engage women to connect with mothers’ needs and desires (not just focusing on the technical merits of recommended behaviors) to ensure best practices are adopted and not just understood, documenting strategies to replicate process with other interconnected RMNCH+A and gender equality topics
Create and pilot a training curriculum of cutting-edge breastfeeding science and messages, including an engaging and interactive Q&A platform (eventually can be used for all of our RMNCH+A products),
Develop strategic plan for scaling interactive breastfeeding platform for all of our RMNCH+A products
Select only the most relevant.
Where is your solution team headquartered?Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
Our solution's stage of development:
- Zubaida Bai Founder & CEO, ayzh