Pregnant and lactating mothers, health centers’ staff of the department of Managua, medical and nutrition students, and the general population, participated in the Fourth Breastfeeding Fair in the Villa Reconciliación neighborhood, organized by the Ministry of Health with the support of the World Food Programme (WFP). This year’s motto was “Close, Continuing, and Convenient Support for Breastfeeding Mothers.”
Ana Gabriel Sandoval (21) is the mother of a 4-month-old Samary Guadalupe. She shared her testimony with other mothers in the fair. “I only breastfeed my baby girl and she has kept healthy. If you want to see your kids grow healthy and beautiful, you need to feed them only with breast milk during the first six months”, she stressed.
Hortensia Chávez, a fifth year medical student of the National Autonomous University of Nicaragua (UNAN) gives last-minute touches on the mural of the “Carlos Rugama” Health Center before the start of informative mural contest. This mural won first place out of 20 murals due to its creativity, good presentation, along with clear and concise information. “At the health center we give information to pregnant women coming in for their pre-natal check-ups,” said Hortensia.
Health staff from the “Bertha Calderón” Women’s Hospital explains to the WFP Deputy Representative, Marc Regnault de la Mothe, how they support pregnant women at the hospital. “In this hospital we support the promotion of breastfeeding practices like premature attachment, which is the early initiation of the alimentation through breastfeeding, and the accommodation, together to guarantee that the establishment and maintenance of breastfeeding are easy for all mothers,” said Dr. Nieves Sánchez, head of Neonatology at the Women's Hospital.
As part of the activities in celebration of Breastfeeding Month, the Health Ministry created the National Breastfeeding Forum with the participation of health workers coming from all over the country, psychologists, social workers, and the WFP Deputy Representative, Marc Regnault de la Mothe, who underscored the importance of promoting breastfeeding to guarantee food security.
Dr. Wendy Idiáquez Mendoza (foreground), General Director of Quality of Care of the Health Ministry, said that the government has accepted the responsibility of promoting, protecting, and maintaining breastfeeding. “The mother's breast milk is the baby's first vaccine. That is why the Health Ministry informs mothers and their families through educative lectures in health units and house-to-house visits about the advantages of breastfeeding for mothers and children alike,” said Dr. Idiáquez. In the image, WFP Deputy Representative, Marc Regnault de la Mothe (center) and Jeaneth Arguello, social worker (right).
Within the framework of the 1.000 Day Movement, WFP promotes breastfeeding as key for future health. In a strategic alliance with the Health Ministry, WFP implements the Mother and Child Health Programme aimed at lactating women and children under two years of age in eight municipalities of the departments of Madriz and Nueva Segovia.
Through the Mother and Child Health Programme of the 2013-2018 Country Programme, WFP supports the Government, UNICEF and other partners to ensure that the hospitals in the municipalities where WFP works are certified "Friendly Health Units for Children and Women." This means these hospitals protect, promote and support breastfeeding practices. To be certified, the health units must also show improvement in the quality of prenatal control, attention during labor, and immediate care of the newborn with the aim of reducing mother-child mortality rates.