UN Day @ Renaissance

Project lifecycle expanded its educational programme using our schools' UN Day to investigate 3 topics: basic newborn care, the importance of breastmilk and antibiotic resistance.

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1. Basic newborn care

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The first 24 hours of a baby’s life is so important because the doctors will make a lot of procedures such as cutting the umbilical cord, make sure that they breathe, cleaning them, giving them antibiotics to prevent infections and measuring them. Also teaching the parents how to take care of the baby. Giving the baby its first bath, changing its diapers and to swaddle it. So even in the first couple hours, it is important that hospitals have trained doctors and nurses and clean equipment.  

 - Gia Anh & Sarah

2. Importance of breastmilk

Milking it?

Throughout the years there have been changing views and preferences when it comes to feeding your child. These views and preferences also vary depending on where you live or your economic status. For example, in places like Europe it is almost expected that newborns are to be breastfed; the only time this is not the case is if the mother has complications with producing milk for her baby, therefore, must use formula as an alternative. But on the other hand, in places like Vietnam, anyone who had enough money would choose to feed their baby formula over breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is then regarded to be only for the poor. 


Breast milk is rich in protein, sugar, vitamins and minerals, hormones, growth factors, enzymes, and live cells making it extremely beneficial for babies. Breast milk provides natural antibodies that help babies resist diseases. Mothers milk is usually easier to digest, lowering the chances of them getting diarrhoea, constipation or reflux. Being breastfed may also lower the risk of sudden infant death syndrome in the first 365 days of their life as well as boosting the intelligence of your child, giving them higher levels of cognitive function. By breastfeeding your child, you have done only help them at the baby stage but also in later years, by reducing the risk of being overweight, and of developing asthma, type 1 and type 2, diabetes, high cholesterol, Hodgkin's disease, leukaemia and lymphoma.


You must be thinking, if breast milk is so beneficial and prevents so many diseases then why use formula at all? Well, the truth is Formula is a lot more convenient for the mothers as the babies can be fed at any time by anyone. Since formula milk is digested slower than breast milk this also means the baby also needs to be fed less often. There is also a powerful advertising lobby, which permeates the conscious and subconscious, convincing mothers that formula milk is preferable.

Attitudes are slow to change, but progress can be seen in the recent opening of two breast milk banks in Vietnam. The first opened in the Da Nang Women and Children’s hospital in 2017- it collects and distributes breast milk to the Quang Nam area. This is a positive step to change opinions about the benefits of breast milk, for the reasons made above, but also for economic reasons. If babies and children are healthier, they will not only have more productive lives, they will also reduce cost on local healthcare services. A second breast milk bank was opened in Tu Du Hospital in 2019. The outlook for the future is more positive, as people look to natural solutions to feeding their child, safer in the knowledge that there are breast milk banks which can support young parents in the major cities of Vietnam.

- Quynh Anh, Mimi, Zoe, Andrea


3. Antibiotic resistance

What are antibiotics?

Antibiotics are a type of antibacterial agent for fighting back bacteria. This type of medication is broadly used for the prevention of bacterial infection. The first form of the antibiotic was the penicillin which was accidentally in 1928 by Alexander Fleming.


What is antibiotic resistance?

Antibiotic resistance is the when bacteria develop a defence against the antibiotics that were designed to kill them or stop their growth. This happens when there are excessive amounts of antibiotics consumed which then allows the bacteria to mutate and gain the ability to create a tolerance against these antibiotics.


Why is it important?

Antibiotic resistance is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security and development today. Antibiotic resistance can affect anyone of any age, gender or country. It is also not permanently reversible as bacteria have the ability to share their antibiotic resistance by swapping genes with each other.


What can I do about it?

  • Ask your doctor if the illness is bacterial or viral (virus). If it’s a virus, then ask about other ways to treat the symptom.

  • Discuss the risks and benefits of antibiotics with your doctor.

  • Let milder illnesses (especially it’s a virus) to just end naturally.

  • Don’t use leftover antibiotics as they may not be able to cure your illness anymore.

  • Don’t use antibiotics that were prescribed to someone else as they might be the wrong dosage and type you need.

  • Use the antibiotics for the time they were prescribed for, no longer nor no shorter. This is because antibiotics may not be as effective or over effective (causing antibiotic resistance) if not used for the appropriate period of time.     


- JH, Duc, Bao, Eric, James & Leo

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