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Script 69.1

Notes to broadcasters

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The following six spots focus on different aspects of a healthy diet for young children. The spots tell a story that unfolds over time, but each has a separate message. They can be used together in a series or they can stand alone and be played separately, at different times of the day, week or month.

Several of the spots are based on key messages called Facts for Life from UNICEF about child nutrition and health (see information sources at the end of script). You might want to consider creating other spots using basic nutrition guidelines from UNICEF or from another national or local health organization.

Three voices are needed for the different characters in the series, the mother, the doctor, and the young daughter, Rosa.

Script

Characters:

Host

Doctor

Mother and her baby

Rosa:
young girl, about seven years old


Spot 1: Weigh your baby every month

Host:
Welcome to our program! Today we begin a new series that focuses on a most precious resource — our children. Every child has the right to survive and to thrive. Yet around the world every day, millions of children are deprived of the love, care, nurturing, health, nutrition and protection that they need to survive, to grow, to develop and to learn.

Over the next few [programs/days/week], we will talk about some of the issues that affect children in our own communities, especially good nutrition, the importance of education, HIV and AIDS, children’s rights, and appropriate work and workloads.

We begin the series today with some basic information about feeding your children at different stages of their lives.

Sound of baby crying

Doctor:
Shall we begin the examination, Mrs. Petros?

Mother:
Yes, Doctor.

Fade out sound of baby crying

Doctor:
Okay then. Please put little Sara on the scale so I can weigh her. [Pause] Hmmm. [Pause] How old is she now? If I remember correctly, she’s six months.

Mother:
Yes. Is everything okay?

Doctor:
You know you didn’t bring Sara to see me last month. You missed a month.

Mother:
That’s because it’s harvest time…I’ve been so busy…[Pause] Is something wrong with my baby?

Doctor:
Sara hasn’t gained weight since the last time I saw her. She should be gaining weight every month.

Mother:
[Upset] Oh no…what can I do?

Doctor:
You must continue to breastfeed. But you must also start feeding her different foods, in addition to breastmilk.

Mother:
Will she be okay?

Doctor:
It will take her a while to get strong again. That’s why you must bring her every month. That way, if we see a problem we can try to fix it immediately.

Host:
A young child should grow well and gain weight rapidly. Have your child weighed every month, from birth to age two. If your child has not gained weight for about two months, something is wrong.

Musical break


Spot 2: Feed different foods to your baby after six months

Sound of baby crying

Mother:
[Calling out] I’m home, Rosa! Come quickly and help me.

Rosa:
Hello Mother…I guess you’ve come from the market…so much food!

Mother:
I had to buy these foods for your baby sister. She’s not growing the way she should be, and the doctor says she’s not eating enough.

Rosa:
[Upset] But Mama — you are feeding her your breastmilk all the time.

Mother:
Yes, and she still needs breastmilk. But she’s six months old now. Sara also needs lots of other foods so she will grow.

Rosa:
All these foods? Eggs, cheese, millet…

Mother:
Yes…

Rosa:
…carrots, sweet potatoes…Does Sara really need so many different foods?

Mother:
If we want her to grow strong and healthy — yes! But just in small servings to start. Now, I must start cooking these vegetables. [Sound of pots and pans banging together]

Host:
Your baby needs only your breastmilk until the age of six months. After six months she needs a variety of other foods, as well as breastmilk. Remember to begin with small meals and introduce only a few new foods at a time. Start with the traditional cereal porridge. Soon you can add other things to the porridge for a more complete food. Add milk, or a small amount of beans and a little oil, or peanut paste, or boneless fish, or cooked egg yolk. Your baby can also eat pureed fruits and vegetables beginning around six months. Mix them in with the porridge too if you like. Remember, feed your baby a variety of nutritious foods. The more variety the better!

Musical break


Spot 3: Feed your baby five times a day, in addition to breastfeeding

Sound of baby crying

Mother:
[Upset] Doctor, I’ve done everything you suggested. I’ve been feeding Sara all of the good nutritious foods you suggested. I cook everything well, and I mash it…but…Sara is still so small.

Doctor:
So you think that she’s still not gaining weight?

Mother:
I don’t think so.

Fade out sound of baby crying

Doctor:
Let’s see. Let me weigh her again. [Pause] Hmmm.

Mother:
Am I right?

Doctor:
You are right. She’s gained a little, but not as much as she should have. Are you still breastfeeding?

Mother:
Yes.

Doctor:
And you’re giving her other nutritious foods?

Mother:
Yes.

Doctor:
And you feed her five small meals a day?

Mother:
[Surprised] Five meals a day?

Doctor:
Sara’s a year old now. She should be eating four or five small meals a day.

Mother:
But that sounds like so much!

Doctor:
Don’t feed her big meals — her stomach is still small. But feed her four small meals every day.

Host:
Beginning at six months of age, your baby needs a few small meals a day. Start with two to three meals and gradually increase the number of meals so that by two years of age, your baby is eating five times a day, in addition to breastfeeding.

Musical break


Spot 4: Save green leafy garden vegetables for your family

Rosa:
Hello mother! Are you coming from the garden?

Mother:
Yes. And I’m going to take these onions to market.

Rosa:
What about the spinach you harvested, and the other leafy greens?

Mother:
Those I’m saving for us to eat. Dark green leafy vegetables are especially good for you and your baby sister to eat. They are full of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals.

Rosa:
But you could make a lot of money from selling the green leafy vegetables.

Mother:
I could make some money, yes. But if I sell my leafy greens, the people who buy them will be healthy — but not my own children!

Host:
Don’t sell all of your green leafy vegetables. Save some for your family! They will help keep your children healthy and strong. And remember — the most nutritious vegetables are fresh vegetables! Eat them soon after harvest.

Musical break


Spot 5: Children need the ‘eyesight vitamin’

Doctor:
Children six months and older need to get the ‘eyesight vitamin’ from the foods they eat. Children who don’t get enough of the ‘eyesight vitamin’ are sick more often and can become blind.

The eyesight vitamin can be found in eggs, milk, cheese, red palm oil, mangoes, papayas, sweet potatoes, carrots, and dark green leafy vegetables.

If you can’t get these foods, you will need to see a health worker. Next time you see a health worker, check to make sure that your children are getting enough vitamin A, the eyesight vitamin, in the foods they eat.

If not, the health worker may be able to provide vitamin A capsules for your children.

Vitamin A is the ‘eyesight vitamin’.

Musical break


Spot 6: Buy healthy treats for your kids

Rosa:
Sometimes when we go to market, my mother has a little extra money to spend.

Mother:
Rosa asks me if I will buy her a treat — usually she wants a soda pop or a sweet.

Rosa:
[Groaning] But my mother says it has to be a healthy snack!

Mother:
I buy Rosa a nutritious treat that will help her body to grow. Some fresh fruit or some roasted nuts.

Rosa:
Or roasted corn on a stick. And fruit juice!

Doctor/Host:
If you have a little bit of extra money to buy a snack for your kids — don’t buy them sweets or soda pop. Buy them a healthy snack that will make their bodies stronger.

Musical break


Host:
We’ve learned some simple but important information today about feeding children — from birth and up. If we nurture and care for our children in their early years, they are more likely to grow healthy and become creative and productive members of our communities.

Thanks for listening. I’m your host, [____________]. Tune in next [time/week/month], for a story about girls’ equal right to a healthy diet.

Acknowledgements

  • Contributed by Jennifer Pittet, Thornbury, Ontario, Canada.
  • Reviewed by Hélène Delisle, Department of Nutrition, Faculty of Medicine, University of Montreal, Montreal, Canada

Information Sources

  • Facts for Life: Nutrition and growth. UNICEF. July 2003.
  • Ashworth, Ann. “Feeding young children.” Footsteps. Sep. 2002: 1-3.
  • Pittet, Jennifer. Green leafy vegetables are healthy foods. Toronto: Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, 2001.
  • Werner, David. Where there is no doctor. Berkeley, California: The Hesperian Foundation, 1979.