The 1000 Days: Mother and Child Health Club in BayaniJuan
An alarming number of pregnant mothers in developing countries like the Philippines are not ready to host a new life. Often, they are underweight and iron deficient. They may not have access to healthy food and surrounding that they need causing premature birth or low birth weight. Due to lack of information these mothers do not visit the health center nor breastfeed their new born long enough.
Even from the womb, the baby is already disadvantaged for not getting proper nutrition from a poorly-nourished mother. Undernourished mother produces undernourished child. Weak body produces weak mind which inhibits the child from getting an education that will give better economic opportunities.
According to Dr. Florentino Solon, President of the Nutrition Center of the Philippines, the National Nutrition Survey revealed high maternal mortality, high infant and young child mortality, high under two years underweight, high under two years stunting, high low birth weight, severe maternal and infant anemia, low exclusive breastfeeding, low breastfeeding up to two years, late and inappropriate complementary feeding and high occurrence of diarrhea and pneumonia amongst the lower class of society.
The cycle goes on unless the mother gets the needed intervention.
Mothers are scheduled to bring their children to the medical practitioner assigned in BayaniJuan. Health workers record the child’s progress on the provided Mother and Child: 1,000 Days card.
IMPACT Foundation of the Philippines, headed by Dr. Chris Perfecto, created the 1,000 Days Project with the goal of preventing avoidable disability resulting to poor health and undernutrition due to the lack of knowledge and access to health resources, created the 1000 Days project.
IMPACT Foundation partnered with ABS-CBN Foundation and the local government of Calauan, Laguna to pilot the 1000 days Project in BayaniJuan Southville 7 in Calauan, Laguna, the relocation site of former estero dwellers and victims of typhoon Ondoy from Pasig and Marikina.
The first cycle of the project adopted 50 mother-child pairs during which, each pair was provided with adequate nutrition and education which included regular pre-natal check up, nutritional supplements and vaccinations; supplemental feeding to increase calorie intake of the pregnant mother; and lectures with emphasis on exclusive breastfeeding, stimulation of the growing child and parenting.
Mothers were educated and provided for so that newborn were ensured exclusive breastfeeding for six months, complete immunizations, weight/height monitoring and needed complementary feeding two to three times a week. The project helped in giving these pregnant women access to birthing facility.
The program ensures that children have complete immunization and access to medicines.
Project participants were scheduled to see assigned medical practitioner in BayaniJuan on their first three months of pregnancy in order to start early prenatal supplementation, especially the iodized salt to prevent brain damage of the fetus resulting to mental retardation. An early iron/folic supplement was also administered since many women enter pregnancy anemic. About 60% of pregnant women had the recommended three to more than four times of prenatal visits .The advantage of four or more visits, are early physical examination, assessment of the fetus status, micronutrient supplementation and intensive health and nutrition information and education. All of the fifty pregnant women were given tetanus toxoid vaccine which protects pregnant women from tetanus infection and the newborn from having tetanus Neonatorum, a fatal tetanus condition on newborn babies. The tetanus vaccine wereprovided by the Calauan Rural Health Unit.
During the first cycle of the project in BayaniJuan, 92% of pregnant women delivered in health facilities and only 7% delivered their babies at home. The achievement significantly reduced complications and death at delivery. In the National Survey, only 47% delivered in health facilities and 43% had home delivery.
One hundred percent of the mothers in the BayaniJuan 1000 days project breastfed their newborn during the first hour after delivery while the National Survey showed only 51.9% breastfeed their new born at the first hour of delivery. Colostrum, an immunity builder, is released by mothers on the first hour after delivery.
All participants of the 1000 days project were lactating mothers who practiced exclusive breastfeeding on the first month onward. In the National Survey , only 51% practice exclusive breastfeeding on the first month and only up to an average of three months. During the first cycle of the project, only two newborn babies or 6% have low birth weight while the National Survey shows a prevailing low birth weight of 19%.
The 1000 Days: Mother and Child Health Club in BayaniJuan did not just physically prepare both the mother and child but also mentally equipped the mothers on proper child rearing. With proper care and follow up, this almost ensures a better future for the children.
Children’s weight and height are monitored regulary during the program.
The second cycle of the 1000 days project in BayaniJuan will be sponsored by Calmoseptine, and will address high-risk pregnant women or those who are 35-year old and above, under 20-year old or those with pre-existing medical conditions.
If the results of the second cycle validate the success of the first, then 1000 days would be a significant way to attain the MDG goals on maternal and child health by 2015.
For support, please visit www.bantaybata163.com or www.bayanijuan.org.