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* La Leche League’s Mariana Petersen discusses infant health care in Guatemala

International Board Certified Lactation Consultant Mariana Petersen talks about her work advocating for better infant health care in Guatemala at the free lecture, “Infant Health Care in Guatemala,” at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 27 at Shoreline Community College. 

Petersen is a life-long advocate for improved maternal and infant care.  She currently educates nurses on the technique and value of breastfeeding, along with other infant-centered techniques such as “kangaroo care” for premature babies, at Roosevelt Hospital, the largest public hospital in Guatemala.  Guatemala has the highest infant mortality rate in Central America.

Roosevelt, with an average of 60 births a day, is seeking designation from the World Health Organization (WHO) as a “Baby-Friendly Hospital.”  Petersen is responsible for training staff, helping and informing mothers, establishing a Human Milk Bank and reforming traditional childbirth practices such as separating mothers from newborns at birth and providing formula.  She has been a La Leche League (LLL) leader in Guatemala since 1983.  From 2000 to 2005 she was the LLL International Regional Administrator for Latin America, responsible for supporting local LLL groups and training new leaders in 16 countries

The “Baby Friendly Hospital Initiative” is a global campaign launched by UNICEF and WHO to support all mother's in their right to choose breastfeeding for their babies.  To earn the "Baby Friendly Hospital" award, facilities have to show that they have adopted certain practices to support successful breastfeeding.

The lecture, sponsored by the International Programs, Global Affairs Center and Nursing Program at Shoreline Community College will be held in the 9000 Building in room 9208. 

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