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Food Security and Nutrition are Critical for Maternal Health

By Hannah Payne on September 25, 2019

Today is Women’s Health & Fitness Day! This annual holiday calls attention to the importance of health and wellness for women. Health impacts so many aspects of a woman’s life, including during pregnancy and childbirth.

When Judy, age 28, left for a maternal clinic in the town of El Rama, she had to travel six hours from her home community in central Nicaragua, with two of those hours spent on a horse. Infrastructure is poor in the region, especially connecting smaller, isolated communities with large towns that have healthcare facilities and hospitals.

For Judy, the trek to the maternal clinic is worth it for the health of both her and her baby. The clinics come with a complete exam room to ensure expecting mothers receive high quality care before and after childbirth. At the clinic, Judy received nutritious Rise Against Hunger meals distributed by partner Global Links.

Judy says, “I arrived here at 38 weeks in pregnancy. I prefer traveling here to deliver a healthy baby because I know many women in my community who have lost their baby or died themselves due to a complication. The distance to the nearest healthcare facility is simply too far to receive timely treatment.”

Hunger and poor nutrition can greatly increase the possibility of pregnancy or childbirth complications, with the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) reporting it plays a role in up to 80 percent of maternal deaths.

At the clinic, Judy says, “I know I’m in good hands here. I can rely on eating nutritious Rise Against Hunger meals here, which are good for my baby. That is a blessing.”

Dr. Carlos, the attending physician at the maternal clinic, says, “Most of these women take long journeys to arrive here, so it’s important to me to provide the best care I can and make them as comfortable as possible. The staff at the maternal home prepares the healthy rice meals, and I monitor the women’s health to make pregnancy and childbirth a safe experience.”

Karina, an international medical aid consultant at Global Links, explains, “Being able to combine this medical component with the Rise Against Hunger meals adds the vital layer of food security to the equation: ensuring the availability of healthy, nutritious meals encourages the women to come to maternal homes, thereby encouraging institutional births and providing an environment for educating and nurturing new mothers.”

In addition to her health, Judy’s trip to the maternal clinic was beneficial in another way: she found companionship there. She adds, “I’ve also already made two friends here and intend to keep in touch with them, so our children may also grow to be friends.”

To provide nutritious meals to women like Judy and create a bright future for the next generation, you can participate in the Rise Against Hunger Experience by hosting a meal packaging event. Join us in our mission to end hunger by 2030!