Every month Pop Wuj Spanish Medical and Social Work students, coordinators and staff work together to prepare and run the nutrition meetings. The nutrition Project began in the fall of 2011 to combat against child malnutrition in the rural communities that surround Xela. Over 80 Mothers and their babies aged 6-24 months attend the montly meetings, where babies are weighed and measured to evalute their progress in the program. Pop Wuj got a new scale for wieghing babies this month!
The nutrition meetings also incorporate an educational component. In March, Pop Wuj Social Work Students gave mothers a presentation on common cuases and effects of lead poisioning and respiratory illnesses.
Each month the babies in the program receive a monthly supply of nutributter (a fortified penut butter supplement that is formulated to meet dietary deficiencies that lead to malnutrition). Along with the supplement, mothers recieve vitamins and 3 bags of "incaparina" a nutritious drink made of a mixture of corn and soy flour that provides high quality protein.
The babies from the community of Llanos del Pinal recieved a special surprise this month...Toys! Social work students helped Carmencita (Pop Wuj's Guatemalan Social Worker) prepare a toy package to bring to the nutrition meetings from now on.
Nutrition meetings run for a couple of hours and it's important to keep the children occupied meanwhile their mothers listen to the educational presentations and wait to meet with the doctors. At the same time, mothers observed how the students, coordinators and staff engaged with the babies demonstrating healthy playing behaviour that will help their motor skill development.
|Social Work student: Melissa playing with a baby|
|Carmencita playing with a baby|
This month we also had many newcomers entering the program, particularly in the community of Buena Vista. When a new baby enters the program, the mother takes part in an intake interview regarding her family's social history. This helps Carmencita and the doctors gain a better understanding on the causes and risks of malnutrition.