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Stories from the Field

 

A community that cares for mothers

EU-UNICEF project supporting the health and nutrition of communities in the East coast.
Trincomalee - Sri Lanka.

The picturesque town of Alenkerny, located by the lagoons of Kinniya in Trincomalee, is home to a small community of fisherman and labourers. While, few of the women folk earn their wages by working as housemaids in the Middle-East, the rest of the community is largely dependent on daily wages to fend for their most basic needs.

Good health and nutrition is a luxury for the people here, where many don’t have the basic knowledge of how they can take care of themselves by living healthy and eating nutritious food.

Jeyanthy lives in Alankerny with her husband ‘and new born baby girl ‘Savithiya’. Like many others, her husband does daily labour work to support the family. Their daughter was born with very low birth weight; this was compounded by the problem of Jeyanthy not being able to produce breast-milk to feed her baby. “I was really worried and confused as there was an unusually coloured fluid” said Jeyanthy. Her problem reached the village community support group introduced as part of EU-UNICEF project. “They brought a public health mid wife to see me” says Jeyanthy.

The public health mid wife explained that the coloured fluid was ‘Colostrum’ and that the baby needed it. “She helped me understand how it can help my child” said Jeyanthy.

The Community support group continued to monitor Savithya’s progress. “They were very supportive and constantly encouraged and advised me on how I can care for my baby”.

On a subsequent monitoring visit, Jeyanthy raised another concern: “My baby is always crying, I don’t have enough milk to give my baby, I want to give her formula milk instead”. Yet again, the community support group was able to identify and advice Jeyanthy that she was not using the proper technique for breastfeeding. “They gave me showed me practical ways to follow when breastfeeding and explained the benefits of breast milk over milk powder” she said.

The community continued to monitor the health of Jeyanthi and her baby. “My baby is doing well, she has gained the correct weight for her age and height” she says beaming.

Jeyanthi is one of the several mothers being helped through the EU-UNICEF project. “I am so thankful for all the support from my village community, my baby is healthy and strong now” she says.

 

 

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