Information on Inca Kola's Annual Humanitarian Mission to D.R. With Friends of Lead Free Children and HealthFirst
Continental Food and Beverage, Inc. and Inca Kola as a long time sponsor of Friends of Lead Free Children Foundation and HealthFirst which created the “Nutrition for Life Health Program” in the Dominican Republic in 2003, to assist high risk pregnant women in having healthier babies. The original goal of the program was to protect the developing fetus from Lead exposure. The high risk pregnant women living in the Lead toxic environment of Haina had Lead stored in their bones and Lead was everywhere in their environment.
The program was a huge success, with healthy babies being born in the “world’s most toxic Lead site”according to a United Nations Study. The program was expanded each year throughout the country, to become the Largest private health program in the Dominican Republic. To date, Friends of Lead Free Children has given over 47 million free prenatal supplements to over 117,000 high risk pregnant women, most of whom live in unhealthy toxic environments. The Nutrition for Life Health Program has created a network of 28 maternity hospitals and community health clinics country wide.
The aim of the “Nutrition for Life Health Program” is to prevent the negative long-term ramifications of Lead toxicity, low birth weight, and birth defects in children, families, and society resulting from the birth of unhealthy and low functioning infants. Many studies have found a significant inverse association between early exposure to Lead and cognitive function in childhood. Also, a clear link between low-level Lead exposure and IQ deficits, neurobehavioral development and physical growth have been repeatedly consistent in studies from around the world. Other studies are proving a relationship between low birth weight and lifetime health problems.
Numerous recent scientific studies are proving that the “healthiness” of a newborn will greatly influence overall health throughout its lifetime. “Nutrition for Life Health Program” is a preventive program with the goal of helping women with high risk pregnancies have healthier babies. By having healthier babies, these families will be “leveling the playing field” for their children by starting out their lives without a potential burden they are neither equipped to address, nor would they have the resources to overcome health problems in the future. A child who is born full-term and healthy is likely to have fewer illnesses throughout life than a child who is born premature, at a low birth weight or with health problems. Healthy babies grow up to do better in school and have fewer behavioral problems than infants with congenital health problems.
The target group of phase one has the added problem of being exposed, and accumulating, Lead in their bones. This harmful toxic will be transferred from mother to fetus unless something is done. Nutrition for Life provided these women with Lead Free Calcium supplements which will prevent the Lead from being transferred to the fetus. Furthermore, these women will likely have diets low in many nutrients which are necessary for proper fetal development as well as preventing certain birth defects. The special prenatal nutritional supplements will reduce birth defects by 70% to 80% and provide the baby with the vital nutrients needed for development.
Continental Food and Beverage, Inc. and Inca Kola have also sponsored numerous Student Humanitarian Aid Missions to the Dominica Republic to donate over 5,000 pairs of sneakers, clothing and toys to underprivileged families.