Part of World Breastfeeding Week
During World Breast Feeding Week, August 1-7, International Medical Corps is running community education campaigns and events throughout Haiti. Made possible by UNICEF, the community outreach events in Port-au-Prince, Petit Goave, and Gressier seek to educate mothers on the importance of breastfeeding for infant health.
“Breast milk is the only food and drink an infant needs for the first six months,” says Stien Gijsel, International Medical Corps Nutrition Advisor. “It has all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs for his or her mental and physical growth and provides critical antibodies that protect against allergies and illnesses, even as the child grows older.”
In Petionville Camp, International Medical Corps has teamed up with Oxfam to educate 800 mothers on the importance of breastfeeding. “Breastfeeding is an investment in a child’s health that is completely free and always available,” says Heather Lorenzen, a nurse with International Medical Corps.
For the entire week, International Medical Corps will be running daily activities with mothers through its baby tents in Petit Goave. On Friday, International Medical Corps will be hosting an event in Nan Regal with live music and prizes. Free breast examinations will also be available. Other events will be held in the Petit Goave area at the following locations: Beatrice (Monday), Platon (Tuesday), Miragoane (Wednesday), and Petit Guinea (Thursday). All of the events are free and open to the public.
Thanks to support by UNICEF and others, International Medical Corps is running a combined nutrition and early childhood development program at nine baby tents in various sites throughout Port-au-Prince and Petit Goave. As part of this program, International Medical Corps runs breastfeeding support groups and educates mothers on the importance that nutrition and play have in their children’s development.