World Vision provides support to pregnant and lactating mothers displaced from Marawi
By Joy Maluyo, World Vision Emergency Communications Specialist
36-year old Amina enjoys her time with her 5-month-old Sanalia in one of World Vision’s women and young children spaces (WaYCS) in Piagapo, Lanao del Sur.
“It’s refreshing to have a different environment for me and my baby. Since the crisis happened, we have been living with at least 20 people in one house. It’s also good to be with other women, listen to their stories and learn from their experiences,” she shares.
Amina was due to give birth when the fighting ensued in Marawi City. Worried that she and her baby would be in danger, her husband took the risk of taking her out of the hospital and putting her at the back of a neighbour’s truck to escape the worsening clash.
“It was the longest day of my life. It wouldn’t be safe for me to give birth while on the road so I kept praying that we would reach safety before the baby comes out,” Amina shares.
After enduring several hours on the road, they reached Piagapo, a nearby municipality where they took shelter with relatives. Through the help of a traditional midwife, she was able to give birth to a baby girl.
Based on the June 2017 data from the social welfare department’s Disaster Response Operations and Monitoring Center, about 10,000 of the displaced women were pregnant when the clash started and 6,700 were lactating mothers with infants 0 to 6 months old. While several efforts were made to address the increasing needs of the said population, there are still gaps especially for mothers who are living with host families in remote areas.
“Sanalia is the only girl among our six children. I’m thankful that she came out healthy but I still worry about her welfare. This WaYCS is encouraging me in many ways,” Amina explains.
Through the women and young children space, Amina and other mothers are given a safe venue to spend time with their infants, receive advice on breastfeeding and receive support from other mothers. Trained facilitators also assess the nutritional status of the children.
“One of our goals here is to promote Infant and Young Child Feeding in emergencies. Since the WaYCS was launched on October 16, we’ve seen how receptive the mothers are. It’s also good to note that there are men who are also joining the sessions and are actively participating in the discussion on how they can better care for their infants and young children,” shares Cleafe Sacala, World Vision’s Health and Nutrition Specialist.
At least nine spaces are now operational in the municipalities of Balo-i and Munai in Lanao del Norte and in the municipalities of Piagapo, Marantao and Lumbayanague in Lanao del Sur, catering to about 700 women. They will also be provided with bags, baby carriers, water bottles, feeding cups, breastfeeding scarves, hygiene kits, and other non-food items like mosquito nets, plastic mats and fleece blankets.
World Vision works alongside local partners like Ecosystems Work for Essential Benefit (ECOWEB), Mindanaw Tripartite Youth Core (MTYC), Tapukan Farmers Movement for Progress and Concord, Inc (TFMPC), Lanao Youth Council (LYC), Ranaw Watch for Empowerment Network (RAWATEN), Inc. in facilitating the said spaces. World Vision