Nyo and her husband were expecting their third child when they learned about the importance of maternal nutrition. World Vision was beginning a new Maternal, Child Health and Nutrition Programme in the couple’s village in rural Myanmar, and they invited Nyo to take part.
“I had never heard about the importance of antenatal and postnatal care for mothers when I was expecting my first two children. I did not understand the importance of immunizations and nutrition until World Vision started working in our community,” said Nyo.
Plots of rubber plantations surround Nyo’s village. She lives with her family in Palaw Township, Thannitharyi Region, the southernmost part of Myanmar.
The tools to thrive
Most of the families in the village work odd jobs on rubber and betel plantations. The 28-year-old pregnant mother of two was working as a casual labourer on a rubber plantation and her husband husband at a car workshop as a mechanic. Life isn’t always easy, and Nyo wasn’t properly equipped to care for her first two children.
“I learned that I was not eating properly when I was expecting my first two children.” But little Khant was different. “For my third child, I ate nutritious foods and practiced what I learned so that there was no problems during delivery,” Nyo added.
The toddler is healthy and growing strong under the watchful care of his mother and father.
Sharing with other moms
“I fed Khant only breastmilk until he was six months-old. He got all the vaccinations that a child should get too. He is healthier than my other children,” said Nyo. “I also shared these experiences to other mothers and now the behaviours of mothers in my community have been improved. They are starting to provide exclusive breastfeeding to their children too.”
The whole family benefits
Now, all three children are benefitting from Nyo’s learning. The nutrition information she has ensure that each one is eating what he needs to grow and develop.
“I am glad that I can cook nutritious food for my children,” she said.
With World Vision’s support, Nyo’s community has learned the importance of maternal, newborn and child health. It’s a story that World Vision has been telling in communities around the world.
The next chapter
And the story continues. We’ve recently undertaken a journey, in partnership with the Canadian government, with communities in five countries to ensure optimal nutrition for children’s first 1000 days. Those 1000 days are one of the most important windows in a child’s life in terms of growth and development. In fact, 45% of child mortality under the age of five is from nutrition-related causes.
In Myanmar, Bangladesh, Kenya, Pakistan and Tanzania, our team will focus on encouraging early initiation and exclusive breastfeeding for babies six months and under, and appropriate feeding practices for infants and young children.
We’ll do that through gender equality advocacy, training of community health workers, and establishing baby-friendly hospitals. That way, moms like Nyo can get even more support in keeping their children healthy.
With files from Thet Kaung and Myat Oo