Wednesday, June 21, 2017
Look at us grow! Introducing the Well Mother, Well Baby Program to Peña Blanca
Written by Alysa Grude, Nutrition and Welfare Program Coordinator
“I am afraid to eat too much during my pregnancy and possibly have a hard time giving birth,” a pregnant mother told us as she recalled what she had eaten the day before. We recently spoke with a group of mothers in Peña Blanca to learn a little bit more about their knowledge, beliefs and practices relating to health and nutrition. Some of the mothers had started feeding their babies a sweetened water solution shortly after birth, and another didn’t introduce food, aside from breast milk, until the baby was nine months old. Only four women in the group of 25 introduced food at the correct time to their babies, at six months of age, further demonstrating the need for nutrition education in the community.
The responses we heard reflect the high rates of malnutrition in the Western Highlands of Guatemala. In the highland lake community of Peña Blanca, roughly 54% of children suffer from chronic malnutrition, or stunted growth. Malnutrition has lasting effects and negatively impacting a child’s performance in school, salary attainment later in life, ability to fight off infections and risk of developing chronic diseases.
In the effort to combat malnutrition in Peña Blanca, Mayan Families is implementing Well Mother, Well Baby, a program that provides women and their children with critical nutrition education. We provide weighing and measuring checkpoints, vitamins and antiparasitic medication, food baskets, and water filters. For six months, the women will meet monthly with a nutritionist, social workers, and nurses from the community health center to come together to learn critical nutrition and hygiene information, practice newly learned skills and have an opportunity to voice their questions and concerns. Our mission is to empower women in Peña Blanca to take control of their child's future, and give them and their families the tools and knowledge they need to fight malnutrition in their communities.
We look forward having you along for this journey in Peña Blanca and to hear the stories and updates of the women going through the Well Mother, Well Baby program. Help us to provide these women and children with a greater opportunity by donating today.