BPNI National Convention
The BPNI National Convention took place side by side with APCON. Ninety BPNI members attended the Convention, discussed and strategise on how best to take BPNI’s priorities and mandate forward. A special BPNI meeting and dinner was held at the Indian Social Institute, New Delhi on 1st December 2003. The National Coordinator presented an overview of the past year’s activities, the World Breastfeeding Week Awards were discussed, and National Trainers were presented with certificates. Dr. K.P. Kushwaha was appointed Chief of Training, and Gorakhpur has been selected as the venue for future training of trainers. Suggestions for future activities included:
  • Yearly BPNI conference for better communication
  • Regional representation in managing committee
  • Fund raising to be a centralised activity

The election process was postponed for a future date.

Asia Pacific Conference on Breastfeeding
The Asia Pacific Conference on Breastfeeding was held at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi from November 30 to December 3, 2003, the first ever such conference in the region. Participants represented mothers, governments, public interest groups, professional bodies, United Nations agencies and other international organisations. Also present were 11 representatives of overseas governments. The Conference was organised by IBFAN and hosted by BPNI, in partnership with the Government of India, who acted as a co-host. The DGIS, SIDA, and UNICEF were key partners in organising and supporting the activity. Two senior cabinet Ministers from the Ministry of Human Resource Development and Ministry of Health attended in the Opening Ceremony of the Conference and launched the Popular version of the Global Strategy for Infant and Young Child Feeding, and the new book Protecting, Promoting and Supporting Breastfeeding: the Indian Experience. A special cover was also released by the Department of Posts and Telegraph to mark the occasion.
The objective of the Conference was to strengthen action on Infant and Young Child Feeding in the Asia-Pacific region. Country assessments led to the development of a set of recommendations, as well as clear national plans of action. The recommendations led to the Delhi Declaration on Infant and Young Child Feeding, - adopted unanimously by the participants. In addition, most of the participants, governments and NGOs committed themselves to the issues of infant and young child feeding.
The main responsibility of organising the event was shouldered by BPNI. The organised team included
- Dr. Arun Gupta – Chairman, Conference
- Dr. Tarsem Jindal – Chairman, Organising Committee
- Dr. Dharam Prakash – Secretary. Organising Committee
- Dr. J.P. Dadhich – Programme Coordinator
- Dr. Rita Gupta - Coordinator, Conference Secretariat
- Dr. Jagdish C. Sobti – Coordinator, Fundraising
Secretariat Support: Vasumathi Arora, Karuna K. Gupta, Jessy George, Vandana Sabharwal, L.R. Gupta, Y.S. Rawat, and Amit Dahiya.
Impact of the Conference: The commitment made by officials from Central and State government departments, NGOs and other individuals resulted in widespread action in many states. Most important change is the awareness about the issue at stake and its importance on infant morbidity and mortality. Many state governments are planning surveys in their states for assessing IYCF status and to improve the lacunas found. Some states have completed their surveys like Uttaranchal and Haryana.
The Delhi Declaration
Regional Colloquium on Infant Feeding and HIV
The Colloquium was held on 28th and 29th November 2003 at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. The theme was ‘Minimising infant mortality related to infant feeding choices in the context of HIV’.
The Colloquium brought together experts from NGOs and governments of 32 countries including South Africa, Uganda and Botswana and international organisations like UNICEF, WHO to share experiences and be technically updated, and strategise national policies and priorities to take the UN HIV and Infant Feeding Framework for Priority Actions a step further in the region. The issues included: National policies on Infant and Young Child Feeding including HIV; Strategies to promote exclusive breastfeeding for general populations; Research principles and needs; and Supporting women in informed choices.
The Organised Team for the Colloquium included
- Dr. Sadig Rashid, Regional Director, UNICEF ROSA
- Dr. Arun Gupta, Regional Coordinator, IBFAN ASIA-PACIFIC
- Dr. I.J. Uhaa, Regional Advisor, Health and Nutrition, UNICEF ROSA
- Dr. Jagdish C. Sobti, Programme Coordinator, BPNI
- Dr. Rita Gupta, Coordinator Programmes, IBFAN ASIA PACIFIC
- Dr. Dharam Prakash, BPNI
- Dr. Tarsem Jindal, BPNI
- Dr. J.P. Dadhich, BPNI
Secretariat Support: Vasumathi Arora, Karuna K. Gupta, Jessy George, Vandana Sabharwal, L.R. Gupta, Y.S. Rawat and Amit Dahiya.


Strengthening partnership with the National Neonatology Forum
Dr. Arun Gupta represented BPNI at the symposium Newborn Health in India – Achievement, Needs and Future Perspectives, held at India Habitat Centre on 15th November 2003. His presentation, Partnership and role of national stakeholders in improving neonatal health in India highlighted the role of the different stakeholders in implementing the Global Strategy, with special focus on establishing early breastfeeding.
BPNI participated at the Workshop
on Future Development Assistance to India from Smaller Bilateral Donors organised by SIDA India on 6th and 7th October 2003, at the Grand Hotel, New Delhi. The advocacy done with SIDA at various meetings resulted in the donor agency being a participating organisation at the Regional Colloquium on HIV and Infant Feeding and the Asia Pacific Conference on Breastfeeding held in November-December 2003.
Facilitation of MP State
During the celebrations of the World Breastfeeding Week 2003 (1-7 Aug) at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, BPNI facilitated a meeting of state policy makers, experts and UNICEF. There were intense consultations among the participants. Dr. Gupta’s presentation as key resource person - Optimal IYCF Support: Integration in Madhya Pradesh Health and Nutrition Care System - highlighted how various stakeholders can make exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months, especially early initiation of breastfeeding, a priority in the health care system. The meeting led to the formation of strategic state level plans for implementing IYCF at all levels - government, NGOs, private practitioners.

TN BPNI, Chennai
IAP and BPNI Chennai City Branch jointly organised the CHEN Nutricon 2003 on 12th and 13th July 2003, on the theme Men in Child Nutrition and Care. Dr. Arun Gupta gave a presentation on the theme.

The IMS Act Amendments
BPNI continued its advocacy with and support to the MWCD to push the amendments to the IMS Act through Parliament. The amendments to the IMS Act were passed in May 2003, and came into force from January 1, 2004.
Participation in Regional Workshop
on Innovative ICDS Training and Communication Approaches for Quality Improvement. BPNI National Coordinator, Dr. Arun Gupta participated as a resource person in the Regional Workshop on Innovative ICDS Training and Communication Approaches for Quality Improvement. The workshop was organised by NIPCCD in cooperation with UNICEF at Pune from 23rd to 25th April 2003. The objectives were to share state specific experiences of innovative ICDS training and communication processes and materials, and to develop a common understanding of UDISHA guidelines on quality improvement, their adaptation and implementation in state specific contexts, for improved young child nutrition and development outcomes.