Healthy baby, happy mother

Tsimialasoa Antonyque Yrruccases Rafaratiana Tatamo, aged 32, is the mother of Harissian, a 3-month little boy. Because of a tragedy that happened to her a few years ago, Antonyque is today very conscientious of the health of her children, especially of Harissian. « I lost a child before I got Harissian. My baby died at birth, which was a traumatizing experience for me », she said. 

In 2020, FIOVANA project started to implement health and nutrition activities in Antonyque’s village, in Amporoforo, Farafangana District. As FIOVANA’s goal is to improve the food security of vulnerable communities, it implements a set of activities aiming at improving the health and nutritional status of mothers and children under five. When Antonyque was pregnant of Harissian, she always participated in all the activities and trainings organized by the project for mothers and care givers.

Since I was 4-month pregnant, I had been used to going to the distribution site every month to get my rations of corn soya blend and oil. I also attended the training sessions to get advice about pregnancy management and child nutrition. For example, the project taught me about exclusive breastfeeding until the baby reaches 6 months. I apply it with Harissian”, she said.

 Every month, I bring Harissian to the growth monitoring session, and he keeps getting weight. First, he weighed 6 kg; the following month, he weighed 6.5 kg. This is because I exclusively breastfeed him, and because of the food rations I receive from the project”, she added.

Through the training sessions, FIOVANA aims to promote key behaviors among the mothers and care givers, such as hand washing, breastfeeding methods, monitoring of children’s growth, diet diversification. Antonyque regularly attends the sessions, and diligently applies these practices at home.

Today, Antonyque already starts to notice the impact on Harissian’s growth.

I really enjoy the advice they provide. They are very useful for the family, and especially for the small children. For example, today I learned about food diversification for the children, but also for the nursing mothers to improve the quality of the milk. These are simple practices that I can easily apply at home. Today, I know that I can prepare healthy food with locally available ingredients, which are not expensive”, she explained. 

For Antonyque, the situation has significantly changed since FIOVANA has implemented the health activities within her community.

My child and I are healthy and strong today, thanks to the support from the project. Before, my oldest children were not as healthy. I had to take them to the doctor when they were just 1 month. With Harissian, I have never needed to take him to the doctor. I feel freed of worries and struggles”, she said.