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In January 2024, with support from the Conservation, Food and Health Foundation, we launched our breastfeeding program to build upon our prenatal work and continue to seek low-cost, high-impact ways to combat childhood malnutrition. 

Exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is vital to ensuring the health of a baby. We've found, however, that it is practiced by just 22% of the women we serve. Instead, breastfeeding is often supplemented with the introduction of other foods and unfiltered water, leaving babies highly susceptible to illness and malnutrition. In Yoro, this practice can be attributed to a lack of public health and education for mothers. 

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Empowering Women

Each month, we conduct meetings across ten different communities intended for women who are pregnant or nursing. These gatherings, facilitated by members of our staff, are intended to be spaces for women to openly discuss their experiences and challenges with breastfeeding. Information regarding breastfeeding, including hygiene, dieting, and the dos and dont's of supplemental feeding for their babies, are also discussed.

Women often bring their babies to the meeting and so we are also able to check up on them, conducting weigh-ins and talking to mom about how her baby has been. When necessary, we are able to refer them to the hospital or local health center. And if a child is underweight, we can quickly identify the cause and get them the resources they need to return to a healthy weight.

Building Local Capacity

A critical aspect of our project is building sustainable capacity within the public health system. We have been developing strong relationships with both the hospital and county health department and will be working with them by conducting with nurses from both the hospital and rural health clinics. 

These sessions are both informational and practical, as they learn breastfeeding techniques and basic education for mothers. The meetings also include roundtable discussions about what is working and what challenges they are facing in implementing the project. These conversations give us the opportunity to adapt as we progress, focusing on what is working and addressing any challenges we may encounter in real time.

In addition to implementing this project in their respective units, the nurses at the hospital will also begin implementing the project at the “Mother’s Home” next to the hospital, a temporary housing facility for women traveling from greater distances to the hospital to give birth. 

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