Goff and Gott, 22-month-old twins from Mueang Pan district, Lampang province, once had underweight and slower development than other infants at the same age.
Nikar, the mother of these baby boys, is a poor hired hand. She did not have sufficient nutritious food to eat while she was pregnant with them. Plus, after the twins were born, the family did not have enough food to eat. As a result, both babies were behind in physical development and quite tiny in size.
As a parent, seeing her children in such unusually small figures made Nikar afraid that the unfortunate event would happen again to her and her husband. Nikar recollected the first misfortune which caused her daughter’s life 4 years ago. She gave birth to a daughter. Unfortunately, because both she and her husband didn’t have any information about proper childcare, they simply raised the baby based on the traditional practice. Her daughter started getting sick at 18 months old and she was not aware that the little girl developed epilepsy. The baby girl passed away shortly after. Therefore, Nikar was very worried when she found that her twins did not have age-appropriate development in the fear that the family’s tragic history would repeat itself.
“I was so scared. The babies had underweight and slow development. I was afraid of everything…of losing my kids again. I didn’t know how to raise babies,” said Nikar.
According to the 2017 Mueang Pan district development assessment and feasibility report, it was found that child malnutrition among children from birth to 5 years included 21.36% of underweight, 13.30% of wasting and 34.85% of stunting. As many as 37.84% of 42-month-old children did not have age-appropriate development.
Goff and Gott have got the attention of Go Baby Go Project. Nikar has attended the training and received childcare knowledge provided by the project, which she has adapted in raising the twins. It is a delight that the twins gain age-appropriate development and proper weight now. Early this year each of them weighed 9 kg and was 70 cm high. Now each weighs 11 kg and is 80 cm high.
The Go Baby Go Project has been carried out by World Vision Foundation of Thailand (WVFT), funded by the Ministry of Public Health within 8-month implementation period. The project focuses on providing training to 35 village health volunteers and parents of children in the community with the goal to enable children from birth to 3 years old to gain age-appropriate development with proper care from the network of parents, communities, sub-district health promoting hospitals and faith-based organisations. Parents are encouraged to provide the most positive housing arrangement and environment to enable children’s growth and development in their first 1,000 days of life. This is the application of the 5-facet holistic parenting model which includes, nutrition care, responsive parenting, health care, fundamental learning and security and safety. The model is translated to 10 units, namely:
1. A child’s journey: Our role as parents
2. Sensitive and responsive parenting
3. Holistic child development
4. Childcare for physical development promotion
5. Childcare for cognitive development promotion (positive discipline)
6. Childcare for emotional and social development promotion
7. Play and communication
8. Environment within and around the house
9. Well-being as a family affair
10. Community-level childcare network implementation planning
WVFT has conducted this project in collaboration with the health promoting hospitals in Ban Ton Ngun and Ban Kham sub-districts, village health volunteers, parents and child caregivers in target communities with situations of malnutrition and delayed child development issue.
“This model is developed by World Vision International, focusing on child health and nutrition, child development and child protection,” Mrs Siriyupa Laohapinyojantra, the Maternal Child Health Specialist, explained.
Nikar said that after the training, she’s passed on the knowledge to her husband, so that both of them can apply what they’ve learnt in raising their children. Everything has gone well. They’ve learnt how to communicate with their children, give them hugs and read them stories. Their children’s holistic development has improved satisfactorily. And as a village health volunteer, she’s always remembered to pass on the useful information to her neighbours. “I’m happy to see my children develop to their age. Thank you for introducing the good project for our family to have better knowledge about child development. Without this project, I’d have known nothing. Thank you so much,” Nikar expressed her thankfulness from her heart.