Mother and child healthcare improvement for poor communities

Kim Boi is a district in Hoa Binh province. According to the district’s report in 2016, the rate of poor households is 31.2%. Among the local challenges, healthcare for pregnant women and children under five still needs a lot of support.

The talk shows are to provide mothers with knowledge on proper nutrition for their children' 1000 days of early childhood

Based on ChildFund’s survey conducted in 2014, about 85% surveyed pregnant women and mothers who have under five-year old children in the district lacked knowledge about pre and postnatal healthcare. Little understanding about breastfeeding or when to start feeding babies solid food during infancy has gradually contributed to malnutrition.

Besides the lack of quality health care services, the limited knowledge of mother and child health care was the main reasons for the health index gap of children. Consequently, the average rate of under five-year old malnourished children by weight in 2018 in six communes in Kim Boi district including Hop Dong, Thuong Tien, Du Sang, Kim Truy, Cuoi Ha and Nuong Dam is from 13% to 17% and by height is from 18% to 43%.

Since 2016, ChildFund Vietnam has been implementing a three year project focusing on creating equality in access to quality healthcare for mountainous mothers and children in six communes.

The overall goal of the project is to contribute to the physical improvement of children under five years old. To reach the goal, the project has conducted many activities to increase the awareness and participation of communities in mother and child health care practices.

The mothers learnt about nutrition principles through games

In May 2018, the talk shows themed “Proper nutrition for 1000 beginning days of children’s lives” were organised in all the project communes. The talk shows attracted about 720 pregnant women and parents of under five year old children. During the information sessions, they learnt more about the importance of proper nutrition for children during their early childhood.

“I have learn that inappropriate feeding to the new-born may cause them serious diseases,” said Hung, a father in Kim Truy commune. “I also learnt about the symptoms of each disease, bad effects and prevention methods”.

“Before, I used to feed my young children with rice porridge and vegetables only. I did not mix rice with other ingredients such as fish or seafood because I do not like to eat them and did not know how to cook it,” added Uyen, another mother.

With the guidance of the doctors from the National Nutrition Institute, these parents were provided with knowledge about nutrition principles for pregnant women and children under two years old such as diversifying the ingredients for cooking or ensuring the nutrition groups in each meal. 

The participants joined in a fashion show using materias demonstrating food ingredients with key messages on nutrition principles.

They also shared their own experiences in feeding and raising children.

“Through the talk show, I understand that I am in charge for the development of my children. I should select more local available ingredients to diversifying dishes for them instead of using the same dishes with other members in the family as before,” said Hong, a mother from Thuong Tien commune.

In next months, the project will organize more information sessions about mother and child health care at the communities, combining with the training on professional knowledge and skills for health staff to improve the health care situation of children and mother.

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