This project will pay for specially trained home visitors to follow up on all the babies born at Mercy In Action birth centers in the Philippines through the first 1,000 days of the child's life. These Mercy Kasamas (health companions) will work closely with the midwives to educate the parents on how to identify early malnutrition so it can be treated before causing life-long damage. Mercy In Action's First 1,000 Days program will also gift books and food to the children in our communities.
The problem in high-poverty areas where Mercy In Action supports birth centers in the Philippines is that children often become malnourished after they leave the midwives' care. The first 1,000 days of a child's life are a time of tremendous potential and enormous vulnerability. How well or how poorly mothers and children are cared for during the First 1,000 Days has a profound impact on a child's ability to grow, learn and thrive. Early malnutrition can stunt the brain and the body.
This project trains and deploys home visitors (Mercy Kasamas) to follow each baby born for the child's First 1,000 Days. Our Mercy In Action Midwives give care during pregnancy and birth and 6 weeks postpartum (approximately 300 days), and the trained Mercy Kasamas provide home visits and monitor the baby until the 2nd birthday (the next 700 days). All Mercy In Action care is FREE to the patient during these important First 1,000 Days of a child's life when the brain and body are developing.
The 1,000 Days between pregnancy and a child's 2nd birthday set the foundation for all of life. This program has the potential to save children's lives and improve health through monthly visits that will screen for developmental delays among children born in Mercy In Action birth centers. This program has the added benefit of improving the health and wellbeing of the mothers, and since the brain grows most significantly in the first two years, this program will positively impact the nation.
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