Programme for healthy babies and mothers

Programme for healthy babies- Vishal RishiVishal Rishi

‘Healthy Babies, Healthy Futures’ (HBHF) is an exciting project of the Auckland based ‘The Asian Network Inc’ (TANI) launched in June 2014.

The Project has a comprehensive network of collaboration and coordination including West Fono Health Trust, HealthWEST Ltd, Chinese New Settlers Services Trust, Waitemata and Auckland DHB, Waitemata Plunket, Waitemata and Auckland DHB Nutrition Services and Waitemata DHB Maternity Services.

The National Institute of Health Innovations and the Evaluation Services of the University of Auckland is also a major partner in this venture.

Family wellbeing

HBHF has been established to promote the health and wellbeing of pregnant women, women with children under four years of age and their families and communities through improved nutrition (including breastfeeding), and increased levels of physical activity.

TANI supports South Asian expecting mothers, including those of Indians from India and other parts of the world, Pakistani, Bangladeshi, Sri Lankan, Nepalese and Afghan origin. Those with children under four years are also covered under the programme.

Healthy options

Among the objectives of the Project is to reduce their risk to diabetes (especially gestational diabetes), blood pressure, and heart disease. It provides participants and their wider family with healthier eating and physical activity options to suit their health needs.

All participants who enrol in this programme receive advice from experts on pregnancy, breastfeeding, food safety, nutrition and physical activity through a ‘Text Match Programme,’ which sends out friendly messages and reminders on these topics to busy mothers through text.

Other benefits

TANI and other associated agencies also render support in several other ways.

For instance, our ‘one-on-one nutrition sessions support mothers who are eager to return to their pre-pregnancy weight and those keen on reaching a healthy weight range.

This programme also helps participants to benefit from a customised healthier eating and food preparation plan with targeted focused physical activity and moves that strengthen and tone body muscles.

Mothers living close to each another are brought together for social and educational ‘Chai Sessions’ and walks in the nearby park. The ‘Chai time’ sessions cover topics such as (a) an overview of diabetes and heart disease (b) food choices (c) food preparation and menu planning (d) food labelling (e) shopping on a budget and (f) benefits of physical activity.

These workshops help mothers to widen their social network, reduce isolation and enhance their wellbeing.

They also have the opportunity to attend wider workshops at which experts discuss topics of interest to them.

As a part of the programme, TANI also organises fun-filled recreational family events that include cultural and sports events.

Vishal Rishi is Programme Manager at The Asia Network Inc based in Auckland. He can be reached on 021-2747448. Further information can also be obtained from Parul Dube on (09) 8152338.

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