Improving Breastfeeding Rates in the Hospital Arco Iris through Nurse Training

By Heather Hageman


Teaching at Hospital Arco Iris

Greetings from the beautiful mountains of La Paz, Bolivia!  I am writing the blog this week as a HOPE worldwide volunteer from Denver, Colorado.  My name is Heather Hageman and I am an RN/ Lactation Consultant.  I am spending six weeks here to improve breast feeding rates in the infants born at the Hospital Arco Iris.  I am facilitating this by teaching the World Health Organization (WHO) “Breastfeeding Counseling: A Training Course” to 22 nurses who work in OB, NICU, and the Out Patient Pediatrics Clinic.  I am also training two Lactation Resource Nurses to continue the training and sustainability of the project.  The larger goal of my project is to improve infant survival by improving breastfeeding.  My two specific goals are to increase the number of infants that breastfeed within the first hour of life and to increase breast milk exclusivity to 4 months of life.  At present only 40% of infants are breastfeeding after 4 months here in La Paz.  (Bartos, 2009)

I am very grateful to the Robinson-Durst Foundation and the Rotary Club of Denver, Colorado who awarded me scholarships to complete this project.  Both of these scholarships are through the University of Colorado, Center for Global Health.  I am also very proud to receive this scholarship as a nurse from the University of Colorado, College of Nursing.  This project serves as fulfillment of my practicum for the Leadership and Health Systems, Masters in Nursing.  The Hospital Arco Iris, the Bolivian culture, the practical resources and barriers must all be considered in orchestrating change management.  The HOPE team is doing this on an ongoing basis in a great way.   I am very grateful to be part of the change for the benefit of the Bolivian children.  Thank you for your interest and support for HOPE worldwide Bolivia!

Bartos, A. (2009). Extending the duration of exclusive breastfeeding in El Alto, Bolivia through a community based approach and the provision of health services. Child Health and Nutrition Research Initiative, 1-32.


2 thoughts on “Improving Breastfeeding Rates in the Hospital Arco Iris through Nurse Training

  1. Hi, this is very exciting. Thanks for the update and your service to the Bolivian people. i am a Nutritionist who worked for WIC for a number of years in San Diego and was trained as a Lactation Educator by Geni Baker at UCSD. If there is anything I can do to help your efforts, let me know.


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