The building blocks to a happy, healthy life

Khamissa Ibrahim is 32 years old mother of six. Pictured is little Rafaida (1).  Khamissa is a Concern-trained Community Health Volunteer. She also sells onions, salt, garlic, oil, okra and chili. Concern’s support has greatly benefited Doroti village as there are less child and adult illnesses. There is a lower rate of malnutrition in women and children. Chad. Photo: Lucy Bloxham/ Concern Worldwide
Little Rafaida's mother is a Concern-trained Community Health Volunteer. Chad. Photo: Lucy Bloxham

The first two years of a child’s life are crucial to their development. That's why we are committed to helping babies living in extreme poverty 'Through to 2' by giving them the building blocks to a happy, healthy life.

If babies don’t receive proper care and nutrition during their first two years, they are at far greater risk of dying. Even if they do survive, they can be left with permanent damage that will affect their whole lives. Their brains may be underdeveloped, preventing them from learning properly later. Their bodies may be permanently weak and prone to infection. It’s heart-breaking to witness. 

The building blocks

The eight building blocks represent the important ways in which Concern provides children in extreme poverty with the nutrition and care they need to reach their development milestones during those special first two years of life. Discover what the eight building blocks are below!

1. Before birth: antenatal care and nutrition

Pregnant mum Lucy Syokau (35) is attending an ante-natal check-up at Mukuru Health Centre. Nurse Caroline Nangira checks the position of the baby and prescribes iron and folic acid supplements for the mother. Photographer: Peter Caton
Pregnant mum Lucy Syokau is attending an ante-natal check-up at Mukuru Health Centre.

Olivia Jackson who lives in Liberia is 8 months pregnant and says she was afraid to visit the clinic for antenatal care because she was worried about contracting Ebola. However, she changed her mind after a visit from a Concern-health worker. Concern Worldwide helps provide antenatal care, nutrition and support for mums, such as Olivia, to ensure that babies get the nutrients they need in the womb –  and give them the best start in life. 

2. A healthy birth

Doris Kpah gave birth to this little baby boy on September 14th at the Community Care Centre in John Logan Town, Grand Bassa, Liberia. The centre, built by Concern Worldwide, was designed to treat Ebola patients but has been transformed into a general health centre. At the centre, mums-to-be will receive help throughout the birthing process, ensuring they and their newborn babies have the appropriate medical care. Without proper care, many babies die shortly after birth. That’s why Concern’s work is so vital to keep newborns alive and healthy.

3. Infant feeding

Pictured are Safiatu Kamara with her baby daughter, Awanatu and Fatumata Kabia, who is pregnant with her first child. They are attending a gathering of the Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health groups in the town of Mapaki. Photo: Ki
Safiatu with her baby daughter, Awanatu and Fatumata, who is pregnant with her first child.

Concern’s help ensures babies receive the essential vitamins and nutrients they need during the critical first few months of their life. This includes teaching mums like Nadiya about breastfeeding exclusively for the first six months and how and when to introduce new foods.

4. A parent's role

Concern helps to ensure babies continue to receive the care they need as they grow older. That includes helping parents like Aminat to provide the food their growing baby needs – how much to feed them, how often, and how to get the right combination of nutrients.

5. Treating malnutrition

Baby Kali (18 months old) in Filtu Regional Hospital, Somali Region, Ethiopia. Kali is being treated for severe acute malnutrition with the support of International NGO Concern Worldwide. Photo: Jennifer Nolan/ Concern Worldwide
Baby Kali is being treated for severe acute malnutrition with the support of Concern. Ethiopia. Photo: Jennifer Nolan/ Concern Worldwide

In addition to helping children get the care they need,  Concern also help provide emergency food when it’s needed to children who are malnourished.

6. Safe water

15 month old Crispin Toawan at the Concern-supported health centre in Boyali, Central African Republic with his mother, 26 year old Sylvian Diando. Sylvian was referred to hospital with anaemia and successfully treated.
15 month old Crispin at the Concern-supported health centre in CAR, with his mother.

This is Crispin Toawan at the Concern-supported health centre in Boyali, Central African Republic with his mother, Sylvian Diando. Sylvian was referred to hospital with anaemia and successfully treated. Concern help to provide clean water to children like Crispin, at a time when they are especially susceptible to infection – as they begin to walk confidently they come into contact with more bugs and germs.

Give babies the building blocks to a healthy, happy life

  • You’ll help mothers give birth to healthy babies

  • You’ll be helping babies survive in times of crisis

  • You’ll help a baby through to 2

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