Breastmilk, the universal fruit of life

Annual Report of UNICEF Mozambique 2014

"Do you know what the relationship is between the stars and breastmilk?" Grandma Elisa asked when I got home from school that afternoon. I answered no, so to motivate her into telling me the story.

Annual Report of UNICEF Mozambique 2014Sit here my dear Vitória, I will tell you. You know… everything started with a single drop of milk, everything. When there was nothing around, the only thing that existed was that drop of milk that the sacred spirit, in its maternal essence, had generously dropped from her breast and for millions of years, the drop of milk manufactured everything it needed to feed itself.

First it produced colostrum, a substance of yellowish color full of antibodies that gave it protection against virus and bacteria. Then it added more nutrients as vitamins and minerals that gave it a lot of energy.

And they say that that small drop grew and grew until one day…Boom!

It exploded!... and the millions of drops, full of that energy, scattered throughout the universe filling it with light in the most distant places.

Annual Report of UNICEF Mozambique 2014The sacred spirit started organizing the drops of milk into groups that we call galaxies, and gave each one of them its own breast in the form of a sun that would feed them. The drops of milk grouped into galaxies stayed suspended in the universe and started to develop into comets, meteors, asteroids and planets.

When the sacred spirit arrived inthe last galaxy, it wanted to do something special to honor the first drop of milk, so it created the Milky Way. The sacred spirit placed a small drop of milk close to one of the hot chests that we called sun and then, it filled it withoxygen and that drop of milk changed its color to blue. That perfect synchronization made the nutrients of the sacred milk to continuecreating other life forms and that is how trees with fruits, green fields with vegetables and vegetation and even clean water started. The sacred spirit was so happy that it began modeling the earth with the milk and giving life to men and women of all races. It then took on the task of creating animals that would feed the beings it just made, and that’s how fish, birds, cows, sheep, rams and other animals appeared.

The sacred spirit named the beings that it had created humans, and so that they would never forget their origin, it gave its blessing to the women, so they could have the ability to procreate and as a universal gift it left its breasts, so they could themselves feed their children with the nutrients necessary to live.

That is the reason Vitória, why the mothers breastfeed their children on their chest.

RESULTS: Nutrition with the support of UNICEF

UNICEF supported finalisation of the new Community Counselling Package for Infant Feeding, including the Multiple Micronutrient Powders (MNPs) component. The National Strategy for home food fortification with MNP was finalised, and is awaiting internal approval by MISAU. UNICEF will also support the introduction of MNPs, in the public sector in four or more districts in Zambézia province.

With UNICEF support, the management and data reporting of the nutrition rehabilitation programme (PRN) was improved. The proportion of health units reporting dataon acute undernutrition in outpatient and inpatient treatment has improved from 27% in 2013 to 67% (511 health units) at the end of 2014, reflecting an expansion of the PRN services to more health units. This improvement included the inclusion of relevant indicators in the Health Information System (SIS –Basic Module). In 2014, the recovery rate of cases of serious acute malnutrition (SAM) in the nutrition rehabilitation programme was 61% in both treatment services (which is still below the target of 80%).