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Be an Aviva Mascot | For Mother & Child Welfare | James Akaba

The Aviva Day is that single event at Open Dreams that rallies the entire community around a common cause that is at the center of life – safe delivery, mother and child welfare, efficient Ante-natal & post-natal care, healthy lifestyles which safeguard reproductive health, healthy babies and happy mothers, happy families etc. Even if you are planning to be a priest or a nun, this day involves all of us. We are all lucky to experience the beauty of life and the world because our births were successful. Participation in the Aviva Day activities is often one of the community-engagement features we checkout for, when we receive requests for letters of recommendation, testimonials or references, as there is so much to write on leadership and social responsibility – all packed up on Aviva Day. The creativity of each hub and the engagement of every member of the Open Dreams Community sink deep into our hearts and the heart of humanity on this day. 


The Aviva phenomenon is a testament to the power of community-driven initiatives and the impact they can have on the lives of mothers, newborns, and families.


Open Dreams Scholars Bertilla Mfonfu in the Aviva Day Mood after the impressive painting of the Aviva Logo on her face. The Green color of the Aviva Day T-Shirt Signifies Life


Some of the most traumatic experiences in life occur:


- When a husband loses a beloved wife due to childbirth, especially when it is their first child.

 

- When you go to the hospital expecting a bouncy baby but end up with a devastating stillbirth and must take an emergency trip to the village for burial with no dignity – the burial of someone who could have been your pride in the world. You start wondering what to do with all the dresses piled up in a box in the room – then as you look into the shots from echography, you reflect on 9 months of gestation when everything else seemed all fine; further, you reflect at every dream opportunity of playing around with your adorable kid that never was. Each time you see a couple moving with a child who was born around the same time as your lost child, you break down into nostalgia, with memories of what your child would have been by now. This is even worsened when conception afterward gets challenging.

 

- When you end up with what Nigerian films make us believe that it is an “Obanje”, as a result of some peculiar aspect of fetal development likely to lead to some congenital defects that remained elusive to our best of scientific endeavours or was simply not detected early enough.


The nurses partaking in the Aviva Day Ceremony - Bamenda Regional Hospital


In almost every extended family, there is a story of birth trauma or traumatic births and the inherent consequences.  


By the way, how many people pay attention to products with labels on them as, “not suitable for pregnant women?” A simple act of paying attention could create the big impact of saving a life.


Mothers tend to show unconditional love to their children. When I see a mother “babaring” (carrying on the back) a 10-year-old who was born different, I imagine how a Small Action, e.g. accessing essential ANC/PNC would have led to a Big Impact, of relieving the mother of life-long healthcare and the associated financial burden, for another person who remains dependent. Indeed, birth outcomes can imprison a mother/family for a lifetime and deprive the newborn of the opportunity to attain his/her full potential and pursue the goals of life in their fullness. 


The Open Dreams Family at the Buea Regional Hospital on Aviva Day


For the well-being of mother and child, and happy families, we run the Aviva Women in Science Program, a rallying heartivist (heart + activism) initiative for a good cause. There is nothing more important than being alive.  There is so much joy in giving than in receiving. Count yourself lucky if you are in a position to help a tender child survive their very first battles in life. Someone too helped save our lives while we were fighting our first battles.


Listen to that cry of the baby. Babies communicate with us in two major ways – either by crying or by smiling. Both are beautiful when we know the baby is healthy, as not crying in itself is concerning.


Whatever you plan, on Aviva Day, be an Aviva Mascot losing yourself in the day as you spread love and happiness and the joy of the season. Let the little ones struggling to survive know they are loved and adored. With your Gold, Myrrh and Frankincense, make the Christmas season one of great celebrations. 


Giving birth is a mystery. Procreation or being able to replicate oneself is a miracle – everyone deserves a positive birth experience. The experience of childbirth is an emotional and physical journey like no other and every mother, child, and father should be happy in the process.


Visit these photos to relive Aviva Day in the serene city of Buea, the land of legendary hospitality.


On Aviva Day, which Open Dreams Scholar, Courage Kah describes as her favourite time of the year, we invite organizations and individuals to join us to raise awareness on congenital defects (info@open-dreams.org). Congenital defects often arise from unknown factors. These defects can have a profound impact on the lives of individuals and their families, posing challenges that extend beyond physical health.


We raise awareness about congenital defects to foster a better understanding of their causes, prevention, and the support systems available for affected individuals and their families.


Through educational initiatives, community outreach, and social media campaigns, our collective efforts can make a significant impact on the well-being of future generations. By promoting awareness, we contribute to a more informed society that understands the importance of preconception health, early detection, and access to appropriate medical care. This includes understanding the role of genetics, the impact of lifestyle choices, and the significance of prenatal care.


Families dealing with congenital defects often face emotional and social challenges. Raising awareness helps reduce stigma, fostering a supportive environment for affected individuals and their families. It encourages open dialogue and understanding within communities.


Together we can work to build a world where every child has the opportunity to survive the first days, months and years of birth – a world where every little angel has an opportunity to thrive, and every family is supported in their journey toward a healthy and fulfilling life.


We are delighted to see how Talk Pregnancy with Dr. Noella and other groups of Open-Dreams-affiliated medics are spearheading the initiative in combating neonatal/maternal mortality.


Pioneer Aviva Scholar, Niegem Mbwame (Medical Student, University of Bamenda) and the Open Dreams Family and affiliates


By embodying the spirit of Aviva, we play a vital role in championing the well-being of the mother and child, spreading hope, and inspiring positive change within communities. As an Aviva Mascot, support Health Research and Education, and we advocate for policy changes and resources to curb neonatal/maternal mortality.


We stand in solidarity with families dealing with congenital defects; our empathy and compassion create a supportive environment where affected individuals and their families feel valued and respected.


For more, please visit this Open Dreams web link and Baby Aviva Orangutan Diva: A Jungle Quest to Discover Inner Strength, a Journey through the Jungle where Baby Aviva's bravery and ingenuity save her family and friends from the perilous fate of hunger.


Viva Aviva


-          James Akaba | Open Dreams

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