Scores of expectant mothers in St. Elizabeth will receive a weekly supply of milk for the next three months in an effort to boost their health and nutrition and that of their unborn babies.
The donation was made on Friday, September 9 at the New Market Health Centre in St. Elizabeth by the Jamaica Dairy Development Board, an agency of the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries as part of its pilot Postnatal and Antenatal Nutrition Support Programme. The Board has partnered with milk producers, Serge Island Dairies, Jamaica Beverages, Edwards Dairy, and Island Dairies Limited to donate the milk to the expectant mothers.
Regional Nutritionist for the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA), Mrs. Alice Carney in her remarks told the expectant mothers that their diets should provide all the nutrients necessary for a mother’s health and the developing fetus. She added that there should be adequate amounts of folic acid, energy, protein, vitamins, minerals especially calcium, iron and magnesium in the mother’s diet.
“Poor nutritional status not only affects the woman’s health but also has a negative impact on the baby’s birth weight and development. Low birth weight is a major determinant of mortality and morbidity and has a long term impact on the health outcome in adult life as studies have revealed the increased risk for chronic non-communicable diseases. It is with the reality of these consequences that the Southern Regional Health Authority welcomes this initiative in increasing the food security and nutrition of our pregnant women” Mrs. Carney noted.
For his part, Director of the Jamaica Dairy Development Board, Mr. Hugh Graham says his agency is committed to encouraging Jamaicans to consume more locally produced milk, particularly expectant mothers. He added that the project was launched on World Milk Day, June 1 as part of the Government’s thrust to increase milk production in Jamaica and revitalise the dairy industry.