Name of the activity: Breastfeeding Awareness
Country/NMO: Iraq (Kurdistan) (IFMSA-Kurdistan)
Program: Maternal Health & Access to Safe Abortion
Contact information: [email protected]
Type of the activity: Campaign. Combination of education and advocacy. Campaigns create awareness in society about a certain topic (education aspect) and try to funnel this awareness into pressure on the decision makers to adapt policies accordingly (advocacy aspect).
Mothers have to be supported by everyone in their lives in the breastfeeding initiation and continuation process, thats why this project tried to open its horizon as much as possible to try to inform most women about this important topic, which is indicated by the fact that we chose six different location for our campaign.
We tried to convince mothers that breastfeeding is not only good for their and their infants health, but its also good for their economic state since breastfeeding does not cost anything compared to buying formula milk which will help them in the economic crisis our country is facing these recent years.
The main obstacles we wanted to make the mothers face were the myths about breastfeeding and their busy lifestyles which we did by talking to the families and encouraging the fathers to help the new mothers overcome the obstacles.
In our society, women do not breastfeed their infants as commonly as they should (As a breastfeeding rate by UNICEF shows that only 20% of our infants aged 0-5 months get breastfed). This is due to some factors, for example mothers are faced with a lot of myths in our society, “It makes your body unprepossessing” one myth says, other factors include Culture and Lifestyle.
Objectives and indicators of success:
• Explain the benefits of breastfeeding on to expectant mothers (Observing if the benefits actually persuade the mother for breastfeeding)
• Identify and overcome obstacles to initiating and continuing the breastfeeding process (By letting them ask different questions or talk about obstacles they might think they will face)
• Discuss the common myths about breastfeeding (Observing if they start distrusting the myths)
We talked about the different benefits that breastfeeding has to the mother and to the infant too, we tried to highlight those benefits that women in our society actually fond, for example the fact that breastfeeding causes the mother to return to her pre-pregnant size faster and the fact that it increases the infants IQ.
In our small talks with the mothers or the fathers we talked about all the obstacles that the mother can face from having sour nipples to back pains to having busy lifestyles, and we told them every solution we could think of to every obstacle.
An aspect that we considered very important was banishing all the myths and stigma that they had on breastfeeding and we tried to convince them not to set their beliefs on those type of information.
Plans for evaluation:
The plan we had for monitoring the project was to get feedback from our participants :
• In the evening schools, we asked each student to write their reviews on a piece of paper anonymously and to rate us.
• In the hospitals, we asked the mothers how frequent would they think projects like this are needed and how do they think we could improve.
• In the malls, we asked both mothers and fathers for feedbacks and recorded all of them.