Sunday, February 23, 2014

Nutrition Meetings, February 2014

Nutrition Thursdays: Pop Wuj Medical Spanish students, Social Work Spanish students, staff and coordinators visit Buena Vista and La Victoria for the monthly nutrition meeting on February 6th and Llanos del Pinal on February 13th. 

Pop Wuj med students hand out a snack to the babies from Llanos del Pinal
to keep them busy during the educational presentation.

This month the educational component focused on family planning. Med students and coordinators worked together to prepare a skit that was presented to K'iche' Mayan women in Llanos del Pinal and Mam Mayan women in Buena Vista and La Victoria. 

Women from La Victoria listening to the presentation 
The skit was divided into three small scenes. In the first scene the lead character "Maria" chats with her neighbour "Luz" about her family life. Maria is worried because she doesn't have enough breast milk for her baby and is very tired from caring for her other three children. Luz explains that her sister was in the same situation and chose to consult with her doctor who advised her about family planning. 
"Maria" and "Luz" in Llanos del Pinal 
In the second scene Maria visits her doctor, who advises her on various methods of contraception and explains the benefits of spacing out her pregnancies. There are many risks involved for Guatemalan women and infants when a mother gets pregnant while her last child is under 2 years old. For example, in the case of Maria, not having enough breast milk for her baby. In addition, there is a higher risk of prematurity.

In the context of Guatemala, children exposed to these risks have a higher chance of becoming malnourished. Currently in Guatemala 48% of children under 5 are malnourished. Moreover, the use of family planning will allow a family to conserve their economical resources enabling them to have more access to food and medical attention to prevent malnutrition. 

In the last scene Maria approaches her husband to educate him on the benefits of family planning. This is a tough conversation for many women to have with their husbands due to the cultural context. Given this, the educational component this month aims to encourage women to have this conversation with their husbands to raise consciousness on the benefits of family planning. As part of the presentation, Pop Wuj's local Guatemalan doctors gave a demonstration on the use of condoms. 

Pop Wuj doctors: Carmen Rosa and Sammy 
After the educational presentation, the nutrition meeting continued with measuring the length, weight, and head circumference of each baby. This information is recorded and each participant meets with one of the doctors for a monthly nutrition consult. The doctors need this information to determine whether a child is malnourished and to assess the progress of the babies who have begun the the Nutributter (fortified peanut butter supplement) treatment. 

Due to the large number of participants in the community of Llanos del Pinal, this month we also had med and social work students chat with all the women one on one to review the use of the Nutributter supplement and healthy eating behaviours for their babies. 

At the end of the meeting each woman received her monthly supply of Nutributter, Incaparina, pre-natal vitamins, and vitamins for any other young children in her family. 

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