Tag: Tristin

UN agencies promote breastfeeding to protect babies in typhoonhit Philippines

“The estimated 12,000 babies to be born in the worst-affected areas this month need to be exclusively breastfed, meaning that they get nothing but breast milk, which protects them from potentially deadly infections,” the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the World Health Organization (WHO) said in a joint news release issued yesterday.They said that around one third of babies in the area born before the disaster who are less than six months old are already exclusively breastfed, and nine out of ten were at least partially breastfed before the emergency. The mothers who were doing at least some breastfeeding need to be supported to transition to exclusive breastfeeding.“The uncontrolled distribution and use of infant formula in emergency situations like this – where there are serious water and sanitation challenges and other disease risks – is extremely dangerous,” said Dr. Julie Hall, WHO Representative in the Philippines.“Supporting breastfeeding is one of the most important things we can do to protect babies in areas of the Philippines hit by the typhoon.”During emergency situations, disease and death rates among babies and children are higher than for any other age group, the agencies noted. Babies who drink formula made with water that is contaminated with germs or given with an unsterile bottle or teat, can become very sick with diarrhoea and die within a matter of hours.“Feeding babies with formula in emergencies must only be considered as a last resort, when other safer options – such as helping non-breastfeeding mothers to reinitiate breastfeeding, finding a wet nurse or pasteurized breast milk from a breast milk bank – have first been fully explored,” they stated.UNICEF and WHO strongly urged all who are involved in funding, planning and implementing the emergency response in the Philippines to avoid unnecessary illness and death by promoting, protecting and supporting breastfeeding. Community leaders are called on to monitor and report any donations that may undermine breastfeeding.Some 14.4 million people are affected by the typhoon, which also displaced about 3.6 million people. Ongoing priority needs include food aid and access to water, urgent and extensive shelter requirements, and recovery of livelihoods.Meanwhile, medical teams organized by the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) have started delivering reproductive health services to expecting and nursing mothers in evacuation centres for those displaced by the typhoon.The first medical missions, on 26 November, went to the two largest centres in the devastated city of Tacloban where 44 pregnant women and 33 breastfeeding mothers received care. Each was tested for vital signs, given a gynaecological consultation and a test for infections. Pregnant women were given prenatal exams, including ultrasound. In addition, midwives dispensed medicines and information about family planning methods. A counsellor was available for women showing signs of psychological trauma. The team went to two more sites yesterday and served clients from 14 evacuation centres.While all of Tacloban’s medical facilities were heavily damaged by the typhoon’s fierce winds and tidal surge, a number have reopened and are now able to provide safe delivery services, including three that can provide caesarean sections.There are some 230,000 pregnant women among the millions affected by the typhoon. Nearly 900 are giving birth each day, with around 130 likely to experience potentially life-threatening complications, according to UNFPA. read more

Funding announced for Brock research of boxing program for women trans survivors

Tania Jivraj had just given birth. Having experienced violence in her past, she was overwhelmed with postpartum depression and wondering just how she was going to make it as a new mother.“I felt quite unskilled,” she recalls. “I didn’t feel I could maneuver the world in a healthy, safe way, I didn’t actually know what to do; I had no idea what direction to go into.”Luckily, Jivraj was a volunteer board member of the women’s support organization Opportunity for Advancement. Executive director Joanne Green encouraged her to be a participant in the first group of a pilot project called “Shape Your Life.”A decade later, Shape Your Life has helped empower more than 1,200 women and trans survivors of violence through a free recreational boxing program at a gym in Toronto.On Friday, Nov. 25, the Public Health Agency of Canada announced it was funding the research of Shape Your Life co-founder and Brock University researcher Cathy van Ingen, along with Department of Kinesiology associate professor Kimberley Gammage more than $420,000 to evaluate the effectiveness of the Shape Your Life program.“While there is significant evidence from participants of Shape Your Life that this program is valuable to them, this study will allow us to provide further evidence of its benefits, with a focus on the positive outcomes of Shape Your Life – including a greater sense of control and better feelings about the self,” says Gammage.With the three-year Public Health Agency of Canada grant, van Ingen and Gammage will be able to measure the program’s impact on 225 participants’ self-esteem, resilience, PTSD, social supports and other areas of their lives.At the beginning of each 14-week program, around 25 participants will fill out detailed questionnaires measuring various aspects of their physical and mental health. They will fill out the same questionnaire halfway through the program, when the program ends, and again six months later.Shape Your Life is held at the Toronto Newsgirls Boxing Club, known as the first women-led boxing club in Canada.Created by van Ingen, boxing coach Savoy Howe, and Opportunity for Advancement’s Green in Toronto in 2007, the idea is to use physical movement as a way of empowering women.“We use physical activity to create a safe environment where participants can focus on reconnecting and regaining control of their bodies and on rebuilding their lives, feeling less anxious, less rage and in more control,” says van Ingen, associate professor in the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences’ Department of Kinesiology.“Trauma is held in people’s bodies and healing from violence involves knowing and feeling that you are in charge of your own body.”Shape Your Life differs from conventional counseling programs in that the focus is on using physical activity – rather than only talking – to help women work through the trauma they experienced from violence.Included within the program are additional supports for the women, such as a food bank and transit tokens.Among the many amazing transformations van Ingen has witnessed since the program launched in 2007 is that of Jivraj, who is now Shape Your Life’s program coordinator.In the decade from being a ‘pilot participant’ to program coordinator, Jivraj earned two university degrees: a Bachelor of Social Work and a Master of Social Work.She recalls how the physical motions of boxing and exercise led her to develop thoughts of strength and control during her step-by-step journey.“I do remember this moment when I came out of the gym and I’m walking and I realize, ‘I’m walking tall, I’m walking in the middle of the sidewalk, I’m not trying to make myself small or invisible or make it OK for people to walk around me,” says Jivraj. “That is so powerful.” read more