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It takes a village…

Having had the opportunity to pilot a BCPP Level 1 health literacy project previously, the organisation partnered with Stephanie Haughey of McCartan’s Pharmacy to apply for a Level 2 grant.

The application was successful and two groups of approximately 12-15 women met weekly for nine weeks along with the Pharmacist and discussed topics that each group felt were important.

The aim of this BCPP project was to help educate mums and mums-to-be on maternal mental health, diet and exercise and get them out of their homes to socially interact with their peers and the Pharmacist. The early days of maternity leave can be a lonely time and many mums tackle postnatal depression, issues with feeding, sleep deprivation and social isolation.

As the weeks progressed and participants became more familiar with each other and the Pharmacist, the group members formed a network of support, sharing their experiences, both past and present. In some of the sessions, local and regional support organisations attended including Homestart, Surestart, AWARE, Breastfriends and Bolster Community (previously SPACE). Zoom is certainly an easy way to have these fantastic organisations on board.

The group members are now able to signpost other people to local services and charities and have adopted the motto ‘it takes a village’.  This BCPP project offered a holistic approach to health, incorporating ideas such as prevention is better than cure to encourage patients to look to the future setting healthy goals and gaining skills to self manage and self care. The women’s health literacy was improved along with their understanding of their health. Familiarisation removed the stigma of the Pharmacist being unapproachable in the dispensary and this project has been instrumental in increasing footfall through the local community pharmacy.

After the pandemic hit, there was so much uncertainty for the participants. We made the decision to finish out the project via Zoom as these ladies definitely needed support when the usual sources were restricted. The feedback was fantastic and we are so glad we moved to online rather than pause the programme”.

Stephanie Haughey, Pharmacist

The Birthwise course was invaluable to me in my pregnancy journey. As a first time mum, experiencing pregnancy in a pandemic was quite an isolating experience as many resources were no longer available. The small group sizes meant I felt comfortable asking questions that otherwise would have gone unanswered and made me feel much more confident for the journey ahead. It also allowed me to tap into a community of people who I would not have been aware of.”

Project Participant