November 21, 2008

Bi-National Health Week Community Baby Shower Celebration

By: Natasha Flores and Nasim Novin

In celebration of Bi-National health week, Project Concern International (PCI) and its partners held a community baby shower for the pregnant women and children enrolled in the California Border Healthy Start (CBHS) project. On October 15, over 100 pregnant women, mostly enrolled in the program, and their families gathered at the Malcolm X Library for this free event with lunch and celebration activities.

The event featured a variety of activities, prizes, information booths from different San Diego based programs and clinics, as well as motivational words from the event’s coordinators and key contributors. Gifts donated by the clinics and PCI were presented to all participants.

The pregnant women were taught how to do pregnancy-belly dancing by midwife Brooke Ray from Best Start Birth Center. The demonstration showed the benefits of non-strenuous exercise during pregnancy and the greater advantages of “loose-hips” during childbirth.

Professional photographers Selina Espinoza and Lorena Glade-Labarca provided photo sessions for the moms and children. All were able to take home their photos and gifts. The baby shower was a huge success drawing well over the number of expected participants.

Collaborators for this celebration included: Scripps Hospital Chula Vista, San Diego Family Care, La Maestra Community Clinic, Family Health Centers of San Diego, SAY San Diego, SANDAPP, Center for Community Solutions, Network for Healthy California, Sharp Grossmont Women’s Center, Share the Care, Health Net, County of San Diego MCH, and Best Start Birth Center.

San Diego’s CBHS program is improving the health of low-income pregnant women, mothers, and their babies in areas that represent the highest levels of poverty and poor birth outcomes in San Diego County by enhancing the capacity of the local maternal and child health social service systems and increasing effective outreach and recruitment into prenatal services early in pregnancy.

The CBHS employs Patient Navigators, or promotoras, to provide the outreach and case management of pregnant women. They provide continuity of care for both the mother and child from pregnancy up to two years after delivery. The project also offers support groups for mental depression during pregnancy and after delivery as well as health education for mothers. As part of these efforts, trained Doulas “birth assistants” are available for those pregnant women who are enrolled in the program.

CBHS is funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration and is part of a national initiative designed to coordinate and strengthen perinatal services for high risk, low access populations. Project Concern International is a San Diego-based health and humanitarian organization dedicated to saving lives and building healthy communities around the world. With over 46 years of experience, Project Concern International reaches more than 3 million people each year in Asia, Africa, and the Americas.

To learn more about PCI’s programs worldwide, please visit www.ProjectConcern.org.

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