The World breastfeeding week is celebrated every year from 1 to 7 August to encourage breastfeeding and secure the health of babies around the world. Considered as an elixir for your baby, breast milk is a key contributor of important nutrients infants need to secure a healthy development. A small but important Norway-India initiative is making a contribution towards this cause. We spoke to two Norwegian nurses and their Indian colleagues currently working at the Kalawati Children’s Hospital in New Delhi as a part of an exchange programme with Oslo University Hospital. Both the Norwegian nurses and their Indian counterparts expressed their satisfaction at the attention and appreciation their work gets.
“The World Breastfeeding Week is important to create awareness around, and spread knowledge about breastfeeding,” says Linda Holtet, one of the Norwegian nurses currently working at Kalawati Children’s Hospital. Mother’s milk is an important part of a healthy upbringing, and therefore there is a need to create awareness around the topic. Norway is proud to be a partner in the development of human milk banks and lactation counselling centers in India. “It is important to have in mind that not all mothers have the opportunity to breastfeed their infants, and therefore we have created the human milk banks,” says her colleague, Stine Hansen.
Mothers at the Kalawati Children’s Hospital. Photo: private
The human milk bank initiatives around the world are important for a number of reasons. According to Dr. Isha Thapar, “the milk bank is making sure that young babies and children are getting the milk they need. Sometimes the mothers are unable to breastfeed the babies, and that is where the milk bank comes in. By storing milk and delivering it to those in need, we are able to secure a healthy upbringing of children across the world”.
The Norwegian nurses are here to share knowledge and competence with their Indian colleagues through the FK Norway initiative, which is a Norwegian government body financing two-way mutual personnel exchange between companies and organisations in Norway and similar companies and organisations in countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Both Linda Holtet and Stine Hansen are enjoying working in India. “It is of course different from what we are used to back home. In the beginning, I must admit that it was a bit tough, but now we have gotten used to the way of life and work here in India. Everything is a bit slower here, but we are definitely learning from the experience. We like working here in India and Delhi. Our Indian colleagues are eager to learn from us, and they are asking us every week if there is something new we can teach them. They are also very good at processing what we teach them. And at the same time, we are learning a lot from our colleagues here in India that is useful in an increasingly multicultural Norway”.
Read more about the World Breastfeeding Week here and the FK Norway initiative here.