Encouraging new mothers to exclusively breastfeed their babies is standard practice at Vavatenina’s primary health center, according to Dr. Tiarisoa Léocadie Bernard, the facility’s head doctor.
In addition to the center’s health workers to promote exclusive breastfeeding, the local community health volunteers (CHVs) are routinely reminded about the importance of this healthy practice during monthly meetings, an activity supported by USAID’s Mahefa Miaraka program.
Past experiences have shown that constant reminders and education about the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding have led to more mothers adopting the practice and also increased the use of child health cards – a valuable resource that provides tips and guidelines for how to raise a healthy child.
Dr. Tiarisoa believe that CHVs are critical to providing effective care for new mothers. "It is important for CHVs to continue the awareness raising sessions and conduct home visits so that they can keep in close contact with the communities,” he says.
She is also a big supporter of the child health cards. “We should massively distribute and promote the child health cards because they contain useful advice on essential health practices, like exclusive breastfeeding, and they are easy to understand with the pictures and visuals provided.”