Adwoa and her healthy babe!
In Ghana, Self-Help International operates a maternal-child health program called Growing Healthy Food, Growing Healthy Children (GHFGHC) in two communities in the Ashanti Region. The program focuses on working with pregnant women and continues to partner with those women as their child grows and develops.
Self-Help staff provide counseling and education on accessing prenatal care, exclusively breastfeeding, and appropriate and accessible weaning strategies to ensure that children are getting needed nutrients.
In the two partner communities, Beposo and Kukubuso, women most commonly learn about the program by word of mouth from active or graduated mothers.
Adwoa, a 28-year-old mother of three, came across a GHFGHC meeting when staff were discussing healthy eating during pregnancy.
“I knew I was at the right place at the right time because I had just found out I was pregnant,” Adwoa said. “I listened to the information offered at the meeting and made up my mind to be part of the group. I spoke to the nutrition officers about my interest in joining the program, and I was enrolled the next week.”
During Adwoa’s pregnancy, she was encouraged to regularly attend prenatal care appointments.
“There were times I missed my appointments because of the distance from my home to the health center,” Adwoa said.
Adwoa found out she was anemic when she joined GHFGHC, and Self-Help’s nutrition officers advised her on iron rich foods that she could eat. The team also supplied her with a porridge made from quality protein maize (QPM) and some eggs.
“I was reluctant to eat eggs because of a myth about eating eggs during pregnancy,” Adwoa said. “It is believed that if a pregnant woman eats eggs, her child will not have hair on the head when he or she is born.”
“I spoke to Self-Help’s team about my concerns. I received counseling and support, and the staff encouraged me to eat eggs as a healthy source of protein and nutrients,” Adwoa added.
Adwoa heeded all of the advice that Self-Help’s team gave her, and she gave birth to a 7lb healthy baby with a head of hair.