A group of nurses who are members of the Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses donated more than 7,000 diapers to a Chicago-based diaper bank supporting needy mothers, according to a Chicago Sun-Times article published Feb. 19, 2017.
According to the article, the nurses have been part of an ongoing effort to “eradicate the diaper divide, partnering with the National Diaper Bank Network founded by Huggies in 2011.”
“The network comprises 300-plus diaper banks nationwide that monthly serve 336,000 children from needy families,” the Sun-Times article stated. “According to national statistics, the lowest-income quintile of families spend 14% of their income on diapers, which unlike food or health insurance, aren’t covered by programs like WIC, SNAP or Medicaid.”
The article quoted Kim Armour, director of women’s health, obstetrics and neonatology at Northwestern Medicine Prentice Women’s Hospital in Chicago, who said, “the issue is becoming more visible, but there’s still much work to be done.”
“Nurses are at the frontlines of caring for infants affected by health issues that result from not having enough clean, dry diapers,” said AWHONN CEO Lynn Erdman, MN, RN, FAAN, in a press release on the AWHONN website. “We’re proud that AWHONN nurses, along with Huggies and the National Diaper Bank Network, are making strides to close the diaper gap, improving the lives of families and their babies.”
The AWHONN press release stated that a $10 donation will diaper a baby for one week, or $20 for two weeks, through the National Diaper Bank Network. “Every $1 donated buys six diapers at wholesale to support these families,” the press release stated.
In the last three years, 5.8 million American babies were born into poor or low income families, according to the National Diaper Bank Network. “That means as many as 2,600 diapers are needed per baby, per year — which adds up to more than 15 billion diapers annually,” the website stated.
A checklist on the website suggests reaching out to agencies such as health clinics to start a local diaper bank; set goals for collection; develop a way to track progress; select a start and end date; choose one or two places centrally located for collections; label the collection bins clearly and colorfully; locate volunteers to help; spread the word via social media; and set up transportation and volunteers for collecting and delivering them.
In March 2016, the Obama administration sought to expand access to affordable diapers for America’s poorest families to avoid serious health problems for babies that can include urinary tract and staph infections.
In an article called “The Diaper Divide” on the White House website, author Cecelia Muñoz stated, “Nearly 1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their babies. In some cases, moms and dads stretch the time between diaper changes to make their limited resources last.”
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