Guwahati, Aug 7: Ten groups from Gauhati Medical College, Government Ayurvedic College, Arya Nursing College, Assam Engineering College participated in an inter-college debate competition at Gauhati Medical College Hospital, organized by National Rural Health Mission, Assam in collaboration with UNICEF, Assam today. The topic of the debate was “Babies Need Mom-Made, Not Man-Made”. The debate is a part of the ongoing celebration of World Breastfeeding Week-2012, that started on August 1.
Participants standing for the motion expressed views that breastfeeding is the best feeding for a baby. That breastfeeding helps defend against infections, prevent allergies, and protect against a number of chronic conditions. One of the contestants speaking for the motion emphasised on the issue of breastfeeding to bring down Infant Mortality Rate of India, which has been most alarming compared to other developing nations. References were made of the disadvantages of artificial feeding and the risks of infections associated with it.
Those against the motion referred to problems associated with breastfeeding. They argued that although breast milk is believed to be the best nutritional choice for infants, breastfeeding may not be possible for all women. For many women, the decision to breastfeed or formula feed is based on their comfort level, lifestyle, and specific medical considerations that they might have. Special reference was given to the women who go out for work and could not spare time to breastfeed their babies. In that case the elder daughter or some other from the family plays the role of the mother and the baby has to depend on artificial feeding.
The jury comprising of doctors namely Dr Gayatri Bezbaruah, Professor of Paediatrics and Registrar Srimanta Sankardeva University of Medical Sciences, Dr Bijon Saha, Senior Paediatrics Railway Hospital, Maligaon and Dr Prasanta Guha, Assistant Professor Paediatrics Silchar Medical College judged the debaters on the basis of raising the motion, knowledge on the topic, content, exposition and conclusion. The Best debater trophy was awarded to Manabjyoti Sarma of Government Ayurvedic College, while Debika Das of Arya Nursing College was adjudged the first runners-up and Bijeta Dutta of Arya Nursing College, the second runners-up.
Dr. A C Sarma Consultant Child Health, NRHM Assam and speaker of the debate competition emphasised on the importance of breastfeeding in his concluding speech. He said that the debate competition was a means of spreading awareness among the youths about the importance of breastfeeding. Dr Gayatri Baruah in her speech said that although various opinions were shared during the course of the debate, everyone should be aware of the fact that there cannot be a substitute for breast milk and it is the best feeding for a baby. Dr Ananta Kr Bhuyan, Joint Director of Health Services (UIP), Assam, Dr Basanta Kr Baruah and Dr Mahikanta Kr Hazarika to gave away the awards and trophies to the winners at the concluding function. The best debater received a memento and cash prize of Rs 3,000 and the first and second runners-up a trophy and cash prize of Rs 2000 and Rs 1000 respectively. All participants were awarded certificates, stated a release.