Aimed at supporting breastfeeding women, this ground breaking initiative is auspiced by the *Heart of Corangamite (HOC) Network’s nutrition working group and led by South West Healthcare health promotion workers Nikita Wheaton and Jacinta Lenehan.
In 2013 HOC secured a $10,000 Victorian Women’s Benevolent Trust grant to focus on ways modern technology could address the needs of breastfeeding women across the Corangamite Shire. This resulted in a full literature review and focus groups with Corangamite women. It identified women want to access accurate, evidence-based and timely information via technology.
HOC then expanded the project to include women using maternity-related services at SWH’s Warrnambool Base and Camperdown Hospitals, Terang Hospital and Portland District Health.
As of April 1, promotion of the app will get underway. Mums-to-be will hear about it during antenatal classes while new mums will hear about it during their Midwifery Unit stay and, again, when the maternal child health nurse visits.
The initiative also has the support of La Trobe University. Dr Lisa Amir from La Trobe’s The Women’s Hospital/Judith Lumley Centre is hoping evaluation results will gather significant data to advocate for an Australian version of the app. Very limited evidence exists worldwide on the effectiveness of a mobile phone app for providing solutions to breastfeeding problems and increasing breastfeeding rates. Local women using Breastfeeding Solutions will be invited, three and six months after signing up, to participate in a quick sms questionnaire.
Nikita and Jacinta are quick to point out Breastfeeding Solutions does not replace a person but, rather, provides a safe and immediate-response option – far better than Facebook, blogs, ‘Dr’ Google and other faceless technology the HOC focus group mums admitted to turning to, prior to discussing what they saw as personal issues with a health professional they were yet to develop a trusting relationship with.
HOC is a proven performer in delivering innovative initiatives. Last October, a unique collaboration involving SWH Manifold Place (Camperdown) health promotion workers won a prestigious Victorian award for excellence, beating 59 other entries to take out the 2015 Outstanding Leadership for Health and Wellbeing (Victorian Early Years) title.
*HOC is a collaboration between SWH health promotion workers at Manifold Place (Camperdown), Corangamite Shire Council, South West Primary Care Partnership, Terang and Mortlake Health Service, Timboon District Health Service, Beaufort and Skipton Health Services and Cobden District Health Services.