Inadequate nutrition and its consequences represent great obstacles towards the sustainable socio-economic development and reduction of poverty. Continuous natural lactation, frequent and by free demand is a significant preventive measure, since the origin of malnourishment constantly lies in an inadequate or interrupted lactation.
Breastfeeding and complementary quality foods at the adequate age, contribute greatly to cognitive development. Also the balancing of the long-chain fatty acids in breast milk, which serve as support for neurological development, exclusive initial breastfeeding and complementary nutrition deal with the lacking of micronutrients and of iron, thus intervenes in the proper neurological development, at the time that they improve tardy academic performance.
The series on Newborn Survival published by the magazine “The Lancet” in 2005, highlights maternal nursing as a profitable intervention and of proven efficiency that can reduce by 13% to 15% infant mortality by reducing incidence and the gravity of infectious diseases, therefore proper complementary nutrition would reduce child mortality by 6%. Of a 50% to 60% mortality rate in children under 5yrs of age is due to malnourishment caused by inadequate complementary foods, to nutrition after an inadequate lactation and LBW (low birth weight).
The production and consumption of breast milk represents an act in full harmony with the environment, since it avoids the accrual of garbage and bottle waist, nipples, formula cans, boxes, sterilization equipment, pollution and unnecessary debris for the environment.
According to the ENDESA results for 2007, 92% of children were once breastfed; independently of exclusively or not; 55% received another aliment prior to nursing; this implies that over half of these babies under 6 months have been receiving other aliments asides breast milk, which means they mix breastfeeding with other foods; 77% uses a bottle thus interfering with the use of same with the mechanism of suction to breastfeeding. The culture of prematurely introducing solid foods is not recommended since it places infants at the risk of illness even death.
Likewise, around 8% (7.8%) of infants aged 0-5mos is being fed exclusively with human milk and barely 12% from 0-3mos receives it. The practice of nursing continues to diminish in the matter that the child advances in age, between 12-13mos only 22% is receiving maternal lactation.
In that same tenor, also identified in ENDESA 2007 that the child mortality rate in our country is 31%. If we increase the exclusive breastfeeding rate we would help contribute to modifying the child mortality rate indicator. Breastfeeding favors spacing between pregnancies, impacting in a positive manner the family economy, likewise this sole intervention in the country could substantially increase the country’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
The nation features norms, Law 8-95 on Breastfeeding, and the PAHO/WHO and UNICEF recommend exclusive nursing up until 6mos and with complementary nutrition up until 2yrs or more.
In 2008, a diagnostic study was executed based on the WBTI (World Breastfeeding Trends initiative) in order to explore the real and root causes underlying in the Low Exclusive Maternal Breastfeeding up until six months, perhaps the lowest rate of the region, and implement action to revert the tendency to abandonment of such practice. The IEC indicator (Information, Education, and Communication) revealed great weakness in the implementation of integrated strategies to better the alimenting of children and infants (breastfeeding and complimentary foods)
In this sense, the National Breastfeeding Committee defines as action line, the creation and development of an informative, educational and communication campaign thus contributing to increase the exclusive breastfeeding rate in infants younger than 6mos of age and then complimented by adequate aliments up until 2yrs of age.
For these considerations, UNICEF, in its advisory role to the National Breastfeeding Committee, assumes the technical and financial support for designing and creating the present campaign to be executed by the member institutions of said Committee:
Ministry of Health with national coverage focused on collective health
And other government entities, NGOs and churches, among them the Pastoral Materno- Infantil, the Administradora de Estancias Infantiles Salud Segura- AEISS so that, in accordance to Law 8-95 on “Maternal Breastfeeding” and its regulation, said campaign be executed nationwide.
• Scope a population of 100,000 expecting mothers and their families throughout the six main hospitals, in an initial stage.
• Vis-a-vis mobilization with 200,000 families located in the National District, Santo Domingo, San Pedro de Macorís, Santiago, La Vega, San Francisco de Macorís and the five border front provinces.
• Strengthen the capacities and skills in parents and families by assuming optimum nutrition practices (exclusive maternal breastfeeding up until 6mos and parting from 6mos combined maternal lactation with adequate complementary aliments).
“Maternal Breastfeeding, the best to ensure the life of your baby”
1) Maternal health services at nationwide maternity wards via the Ministry of Public Health and private health care purveyors that commit to becoming child-friendly health facilities;
2) Social awareness in the communities, including promoter training and
2) Message broadcasting via social communication media.
In a first stage, the principal maternity wards of the country in the National District, Santo Domingo, Santiago, La Vega, San Francisco de Macorís and San Pedro de Macorís will be covered alongside their respective Primary Attention Units (UNAPs) and areas of influence, as well as the border front provinces. In a second phase, the campaign will be implemented nationwide.
The hospitality process
The social awareness process
During the first stage all main areas of influence of the main maternity wards where the Child-friendly Hospital Initiative (*IHAN) is in effect, forming mother-to-mother support groups to thus ensure the same continue maternal breastfeeding once discharged from the hospital.
The support also features training to provincial breastfeeding commissions, formed by government authorities, the media, and civil society organizations, NGOs, nursing counselors and primary attention units.
Social awareness supposes a community labor where a training process will develop with the aid of professionals whom at the same time will train in an initial stage, a total of 2,000 community leaders, whom will work directly with around 200,000 families located in the National District,
This first stage will be executed during the first 6months following the campaign launch and will feature the following visual aids:
Training Curriculum for community counselors
a) Infomercial (DVD format): 10-minute documentaries featuring health care professionals offering information on maternal breastfeeding, benefits, risks involving artificial alimentation, breastfeeding techniques and population rights, to broadcast in all waiting rooms of health care facilities, to share at community group meetings, among other.
b) Graphic Arts (Print Material): Set of posters, pamphlets for mothers, personal health care booklet, fathers brochure, flipcharts; all of them focused on the early childhood stage parting from exclusive Maternal Breastfeeding during the first 6months, and breastfeeding combined with complementary aliments parting from 6months as well as nursing techniques.
Intervention via social communication media:
a) TV Spots (DVD format): Three (3) 48-second commercials focused on the promotion of exclusive maternal breastfeeding and its benefits.
b) Radio Spots (AUDIO CD ): Three (3) 45-second radio spots.
The campaign will be broadcast via the mass local media and in the five zones of intervention, groups that work at a community level following up with the tools designed for such purposes and alongside the provincial sub-committees for Maternal Breastfeeding coordinated by provincial health directors and Heads of local hospitals.
Second stage: Will cover the rest of the country promoting the implementation of the CFHI (*IHAN in Spanish), training provincial sub-committees and the broadcasting of all messages via local media located in the provinces.
At the time of culmination of the campaign, the expected result is the achievement of a higher survival rate for children in their early childhood via the proper applying of all alimentation practices.