Arugaan, a mother support community, currently has a project with WHO, DOH and they need your help!! This is an offshoot of the DOH Breastfeeding TSEK Program and Arugaan is tasked with the
training of breastfeeding peer counselors for TSEK Exclusive Breastfeeding or Gumagabay sa Nanay sa Tamang Pagpapasuso.
What is the reason for the TSEK campaign? Exclusive breastfeeding rates in the Philippines are at a dismal low of 34% (for babies 0-6months) and a lot of moms give their infants water. Even if moms just eliminate the water, exclusive breastfeeding rates will actually increase. Research shows that 1 out of 4 Filipino kids are malnourished. Studies have shown that malnourished kids are usually those who started with being bottlefed. If moms choose to exclusively breastfeed their babies, then rates of malnourished children will definitely decrease. Malnourishment is seen to be a chain of events which starts with the wrong feeding practices at infancy. TSEK seeks to curb malnutrition by promoting and increasing breastfeeding rates in this country.
|listening to the lectures|
Basically, Arugaan will train and mentor selected peer counselors from key cities to be knowledgeable in the art and skills of breastfeeding counseling in their respective communities for sustainability. Target reach is 32 cities in the Philippines and since starting in May 2011, Arugraan has already trained more than 1,600 peer counselors in Navotas, Mandaluyong, Quezon City, Marikina, Pasig, Caloocan and Taguig!
Arugaan is now on the 2nd leg of training in the cities of Caloocan, Taguig, Pateros, Paranaque, Mandaluyong and Makati. The next leg will target the cities of Naga, Iloilo and Zamboanga. Visits to more cities are scheduled to follow with th end goal of training 5,000 counselors in 32 key cities.
|Nanay Ines of Arugaan talking to the participants|
Arugaan reaches the grassroots community by training the community mother leaders and mother peer counselors. Recently, however, they have been receiving more trainees including healthworkers, midwives and nurses in view of the excellent training that Arugaan provides. The interactive learning is spread out on 2 days and conducted entirely in Filipino – “Gumagabay sa Nanay sa Tamang Pagpapasuso T.S.E.K. (Tama, Sapat, Ekslusibo). Emphasis is made on the importance of breastfeeding, the dangers of bottlefeeding, issues on milk supply, problems and solutions, lactation massage with demo, breastfeeding as a working mom, new information/research on breastfeeding, role of peer counselors and how to be an effective peer counselor. There are also interactive games and activities like poster making, radio drama, puzzles, role-playing, debate, pantomime, Q&A sessions, practicum or actual practice of breastfeeding basics and an evaluation or examination to review the information learned.
|questions and answers|
So what is this call for help all about? Arugaan needs to prepare and distribute a small gift to the participants consisting of a bag, small towel, comb, soap, baby goodies, baby clothes, baby sling, etc., which they will give as prizes and incentives during the trainings. This is essential especially when Arugaan conducts its one-on-one mentoring with the community where an Arugaan mentor monitors a trained peer counselor, who will counsel 3 moms (1 pregnant mom, 1 mom with newborn and mixed feeding or 1 bottlefeeding mom for relactation). Based on past experience, the community is excited when Arugaan mentors give the counselees some goodies. Hopefully, the 5,000 trained breastfeeding peer counselors will need to recruit 20 pregnant moms in a year who they will take care of until the babies are at least 6 months, to ensure that these babies will be exclusively breastfed and to continue to breastfeed until 2 years and beyond.
How can you help? You can choose to donate goods or money. You can donate any amount of funds or goods. For example, you can pledge 20 bags of giveaways or 20 bars of soap. Interested to help? You can email Velvet of Arugaan, the project coordinator to send your donations. This is such a worthy project and Arugaan will be grateful for any help extended. Please spread the word!
*Kindly note that Arugaan does not accept sponsorship or donations of any kind from business interests associated with the production or sale of breastmilk substitutes, related equipment, breastpumps and complementary foods.