Anna Pedraza, the chamber president of the Catalan Association of Pediatric Nursing in Spain, has warned the Catalan Parliament Tuesday that more and more mothers are malnourished, due to lack of financial resources.This results in the mothers being unable to breastfeed their babies and they are then forced to turn to the social entities for commercial, artificial baby milk.
Pedraza stressed that the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends breastfeeding of babies up to the age of six months, stating, "These mothers cannot because they lack the necessary nutrients to feed their infants." She stated that she regrets that the Catalan government has cut many programs which could mitigate this phenomenon.
Speaking of a group of disadvantaged mothers and working mothers with low incomes, vice president of the association, Cristina Rey, said that it is impossible to guarantee the minimum six months of breastfeeding. She said that once breastfeeding is over, these needy children are then fed from food banks with "very little variety" of food which does not guarantee all the necessary nutrients.
Rey stressed that this trend is threatening the development of small children and that it is “very disturbing.” Rey urged the government to enhance the screening protocols to ensure that Catalan children eat at least one balanced meal per day, especially those under three years.
Olga Vigo, a nurse and representative of the Association of Family and Community Nursing in Catalonia, says that there have been "no comprehensive studies" on the nutritional problems of vulnerable children and stressed the importance of differentiating between malnutrition from lack of nutrients as opposed to malnutrition from a poor diet.
Vigo also stated that the Catalan pediatricians are confronted daily with "very worried families that cannot afford to feed their children," and regretted that parents are in such a bad situation economically they have to reduce the number of meals they give to their children.
Spokeswoman for the Catalan socialist party (PSC), Eva Granados, lamented that the economic crisis in the country preys upon the most vulnerable groups and because of this the child poverty rate has now reached 30 percent.
According to a report by the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights published last October there have been many accounts of "children fainting at school due to lack of proper meals" and "wearing the same clothes at school for three consecutive weeks," due to poverty.
As Spanish Prime Minister, , insists that things are getting better in Spain, unfortunately the poor still suffer from the severe austerity measures imposed all over the country as well as high unemployment. While the above article is about Catalonia, the story is the same in all regions of Spain.
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