In the months following the devastating Easter floods, the program nimbly adapted its regular program to respond to the needs of many hundreds of affected families. Support was provided to over 1,000 families in 22 evacuation centres, offering breastfeeding counselling to mothers, screening for childhood malnutrition, demonstrations of good infant feeding and cooking and ensuring that only healthy wholefoods were donated by local and international charities.
In the wake of the flooding, Alola established the first “Nurturing Care – Breastfeeding Rescue” safe space. The ‘space’ is compact and mobile. It integrates both Maternal and Child Health and Infant/Young Child Feeding best practice.
The Space provides comfort to mothers, children, and families in difficult times – a place where they can access lifesaving breastfeeding support, including relactation to re-establish breastfeeding for mixed formula feeding mothers. To prevent child morbidity and mortality, high risk groups can be quickly identified to limit malnutrition. The program includes a “Bottle Amnesty” where families who are bottle feeding are sensitized about the risks, taught safe cup-feeding, and the bottles are removed in exchange for a cup.
Alola is now exploring scaling up the Nurturing Care concept for application also in non-emergency contexts, as for example in rural communities. Forming grandmothers’ and mothers’ groups will hopefully build community capacity to ensure that the Nurturing Care spaces become self-sufficient.
Quella Barreto from Alola observes:
“This little 2-year-old boy’s diet consisted of Nestlé Dancow milk and instant noodles. With Alola’s support: a bottle amnesty, mass relactation, nutrition support, and education on the risks of artificial feeding, this little boy is now happy and healthy.”
We are pleased to share with you this innovative program that Fundasaun Alola is leading.
If you would like to donate funds to support Alola further support Alola’s Maternal Child Health Program, see below.