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Prenatal Nutrition Project – Maternal and Infant Wellbeing Program

Nicaragua has pressing pre- and postnatal health needs. Nicaragua has a high maternal mortality rate, with a recent average of more than 100 deaths per year. Maternal health related issues were the number one case of admission to hospitals in reason census. Additionally, prenatal mortality was the 7th leading cause of death in Nicaragua.

Clínica Verde’s Prenatal Nutrition Project was launched in 2015 to address these needs at a community level. Using interactive lessons to deliver a 10-week socio-behavioral change curriculum, we teach pregnant mothers about the stages of fetal development, ways to care for their child in the womb, and nutrition during the antenatal and postnatal periods and during the first five years of their children’s lives, while providing support and space to build a community of new mothers who support each other. The program also provides services including ultrasounds, multivitamins, vaccines, kits for babies care and seeds to replicate the gardens at home. All mothers enrolled in the program and their babies are followed after conception with regular check-ups and training provided both in-community and at Clínica Verde. 

As a result of our program:

  • 100% of mothers in the program practice exclusive breastfeeding post-delivery
  • 90% of mothers were able to identify three fruits and three vegetables to improve nutrition
  • 100% of mothers were able to identify signs of malnutrition and obesity

The program has enrolled over 300 pregnant women across 10 rural sites, including Clinica Verde, reporting zero maternal deaths. (Based on data from the Ministry of Health through October 2018 a total of 2 maternal deaths were reported in the department of Boaco, and 39 in the country, MINSA, Maternal Mortality Map 2018). 99% of infants whose mothers complete the Clinica Verde program are born of normal birth weight (Nicaragua normal birth weight is 92%, UNICEF 2012), with normal birth weight in rural areas at 89% (Health survey 2012).

All this has been possible thanks to the partnership and coordination with the local government, the Ministry of Health (MINSA), the Office of the Boaco Mayor, the Ministry of Family, Community, Cooperative, and Associative Economy (MEFCCA); and other NGOs and donors including Plan International, Canada Grand Challenges (Canadian Government), Izumi Foundation and Beyond Borders.

Through this program I learned how to take care of myself during pregnancy. I didn’t know how to take care of my body during the 9 months of pregnancy, how a baby grows from month to month, and the importance of caring for yourself during this time. This program helped me a lot because I learned how to eat well and feed my baby in a healthy way, and the importance of exclusive breastfeeding. I also became part of a community of mothers who learned together.”

– Stefany Paola Hurtado, 16

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