Archived News Releases

News Release - Manitoba

July 3, 2013

Province Investing in Health of Manitoba Families, Babies Through Healthy Baby Program

Programs Give Babies Strong Start: Chief

The provincial government is investing in the health of mothers and babies through the Healthy Baby Program, Children and Youth Opportunities Minister Kevin Chief announced today.

“The Healthy Baby Program supports moms and their families early and gives them financial and community support,” said Chief.  “Early childhood development programs, like Healthy Baby Manitoba, have shown they give babies a strong start by increasing moms’ access to prenatal care, increased breastfeeding rates and decreased number of preterm births.”

Chief quoted results from the University of Manitoba’s Evaluation of the Manitoba Healthy Baby Program, which showed the program translated into a 1.4 to nine per cent reduction in low birth-weight births, 0.4 to six per cent reduction in preterm births, 10 to 21 per cent increase in breastfeeding initiation and four to 5.7 per cent increase in adequate prenatal care.

The province is making an investment of $4.5 million for 2013 for the Healthy Baby Program to ensure low-income families can access the program’s two components: the Manitoba Prenatal Benefit and the Community Support Program.

“I can’t think of an investment that would provide a greater return than one at the stage of a child’s life in which their life-long capacity, both intellectual and emotional, is so defined.  The employer community must recognize that by supporting early childhood development, they are in fact supporting their future workforce,” said Dave Angus, president and CEO, the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce.

The Manitoba Prenatal Benefit is available to all income-eligible pregnant women who live in Manitoba including those who live in First Nations communities.  The program provides up to $81.41 a month to help women meet their extra nutritional needs during pregnancy. 

The Healthy Baby Community Programs are delivered through community-based partners at more than 100 sites across the province.  Group sessions help pregnant women and new parents with babies up to one year of age connect with other parents, families and health professionals which help ensure healthy outcomes for their babies, Chief said. 

“The Healthy Baby Program helps address issues of poverty and nutrition.  Families may come for nutritional support such as a healthy snack, but they stay because of the connection they make with other families, health professionals and staff; it all builds toward a strong social support network,” saidTerrie Redekopp, healthy baby co-ordinator, West Broadway Community Services.

Chief also announced he will go across the province to talk to Manitobans about early childhood development.  These public forums and stakeholder meetings – Starting Early, Starting Strong. Join the Conversation – will be held in the months ahead.  Visit give feedback and to find out more about upcoming sessions.


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