Expectant and new mothers have been provided with additional support to ensure safe pregnancies and proper care for their babies, through the ‘Best for Mommy and Baby’ educational booklet.
The 20-page manual contains information on best practices for antenatal, postnatal and newborn care, including mother’s pre-birth testing, mother and baby’s nutrition, warning signs during pregnancy, and immunisation.
It is part of a public-education initiative being implemented by the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with Fontana Pharmacy, to empower expectant and new parents with the requisite knowledge to provide the best care possible for themselves and their infants.
At the Kingston launch on Thursday (October 12) at the University of the West Indies (UWI) Mona campus, Minister of Health, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said the booklet was born out of the need to ensure that mothers have support and guidance at every stage of pregnancy up to delivery.
“It is an important initiative. It is in keeping with the mandate of the Ministry to assist mothers through this critical period by promoting best practices among our expectant, current, future mothers, because we have to begin at an early stage to ensure that public health is effectively served,” he noted.
Patron for the Best for Mommy and Baby initiative, the Most Hon. Julia Holness commended the Ministry and its partners on the booklet, which she said, is a valuable resource for first-time mothers and will assist in alleviating the anxiety typically associated with pregnancy.
“You are not only impacting the lives of these mothers, you are impacting the lives of generations to come. Through this programme, it is expected that you will see a significant improvement in the number of mothers who access the clinic at the first, second and third trimester,” she said.
She noted that the booklet “stresses the importance for expectant mothers to do their regular clinics and visits, and empowers them with the knowledge and skills to take responsibility for themselves and their child’s care”.
The booklet, which is being distributed in hospitals and health centres across the island, was piloted at the Mandeville Regional Hospital in Manchester in May. It will be disseminated to 15,000 expectant mothers in the first year.
Other launches will be held at the Cornwall Regional Hospital, St. James; Savanna-la-Mar Hospital, Westmoreland; and St. Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital, St. Ann. Manuals are shortly to be distributed to an additional 14 hospitals.
Best for Mommy and Baby is an initiative of the Ministry of Health’s Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) under its ‘Good Health Begins At Home’ programme, which aims to sensitise and educate parents and caregivers to best practices in establishing a solid foundation for their children’s health and wellness.