March 6-10, 2017 is Community Wellness Week in Mistissini. The Public Health Department had an information table set up yesterday. It was an opportunity for some of my colleagues in Awash Public Health to meet with local people and explain a little bit about what we do.
Our role is promotion, prevention and surveillance of health and wellness issues. We look at the whole lifespan of a person, from pre-conception, through conception, pregnancy, birth, childhood and youth, coming full circle to the conception of the next generation. My role as PPRO Breastfeeding means that I concentrate on breastfeeding, of course, but I interact with all my colleagues so that we are sharing accurate information while helping people to make choices that will improve the health and well-being of the generations to come.
In the photos below you can see the Awash information table with books, DVDs and teaching tools on pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and nutrition. These items are used mostly by the nurses and CHRs for teaching. Some items are given to parents to take home.
One of the lovely aspects of the public health department is how we are all interconnected. We have an ongoing collaboration with Nishiiyuu to ensure that Cree traditional practices remain an integral part of our messages on improving and maintaining health and well-being. You can see the Miwat Waapiimauusun bag that is being given to women after birth on the table. It contains many traditional items used for baby care: baby wool socks, baby blanket, baby hat, waapsuuyaan (baby moss bag), belly button pouch, tummy wrap, and rotten wood powder for diaper rash. The bag is offered to the mother at the first home visit after the birth of the baby along with teachings by an Elder.
My colleagues were happy to demonstrate the baby carriers. It’s so nice to carry a baby, even if it’s only a demonstration doll! The skin-to-skin wrap is given to women during pregnancy to bring with them to the hospital. It is an excellent way to make it easier for women to hold their babies skin-to-skin and enjoy the many advantages of this practice, such as stabilizing baby’s heart and breathing rate, keeping him warm, giving him easy access to the breast for feeding and increasing attachment between the baby and family members. Dads can wear their babies skin-to-skin too!
Participants liked being able to see this display showing the development of the fetus during pregnancy.
The other baby carrier shown here can be used without needing to use your hands to hold the baby. This can be very convenient when going out and about with your breastfed baby.
With a focus on breastfeeding, perinatal education, nutrition, mental health, physical activities and Cree traditions, the Awash Public Health team is working hard to help build a healthy community. The community wellness day was well received by participants and the public health team was pleased to share messages and tools that will enable everyone to enjoy their highest potential Myupmaatsuinn (well-being).