“Seven Things This Year” campaign on mother and child health comes to Rakhine
SITTWE, RAKHINE, MYANMAR - 6 JULY 2013 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) will today jointly host with the Myanmar Maternal and Child Welfare Association (MMCWA) a two day “Seven Things This Year Initiative” forum in Sittwe, Rakhine State. The objective of the forum is to empower caregivers - especially women and mothers - in the promotion of family health practices as part of UNICEF’s child survival and development activities in Myanmar. UNICEF has been working to support the children of Myanmar for more than 60 years launching its latest mother and child health initiative – the “Seven Things This Year” campaign - in Nay Pyi Taw in July 2012.
The “Seven Things This Year” campaign is designed to ensure mother and child health is placed at the top of the agenda of all Myanmar families. It provides opportunities for women and mothers to meet and further positive family health practices aimed at the well-being of their children. “The role of care givers - especially women and mothers - is critical to promoting good family health care practices. By engaging primary care givers themselves, this forum is an important step towards improved child health and well-being in Myanmar,” said Ms Yosi Echeverry Burckhardt, Chief of the UNICEF Field Office in Sittwe.
The initiative engages women and mothers directly, enhancing their role in and contribution to improved child health and development. It also assists in enabling women and mothers to play a supportive role in enhancing community health outcomes. The seven key practices promoted are:
1. Exclusive breastfeeding from birth to 6 months of age and appropriate complementary feeding starting at six months;
“Evidence shows that a significant reduction in maternal, new-born and child-related disease and death can be achieved through simple, low-cost, high impact interventions aimed at changing the behavior and practices of individuals and families alike”, said Ms Echeverry Burckhardt. “This forum is also an opportunity to recognise the important role women and mothers play in the lives of their families and communities", Ms Echeverry Burckhardt added.
Over the weeks and months following the forum, MMCWA volunteers will promote discussion around key family health care practices as well as local mother and child health issues. Participants will then be asked to reach out to seven families in the interests of raising awareness on the benefits of positive family health care practices.
The initiative will be rolled-out across all rural, urban and camp communities in Rakhine State. “MMCWA will begin the roll-out in 100 villages in Sittwe and Myauk U. This initiative will help to improve the health status of mothers and children including in remote areas,” said MMCWA President Dr Mon Mon Aung. Camp leaders will be trained to ensure internally displaced people share in the benefits of the campaign. In total, 5,000 households will be reached by 100 seven-member groups. An additional 37,000 community members will be reached through health talks and folk performances.
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