The Canada Prenatal Nutrition Program (CPNP) was launched in 1995 by the Government of Canada.
CPNP helps support the needs of pregnant women facing challenges that put their health and the health of their infants at risk. These challenges include poverty, teen pregnancy, social and geographic isolation, substance use and family violence. CPNP also increases the availability of culturally sensitive prenatal support for Aboriginal women and recent immigrants.
While each CPNP project is unique, a set of six guiding principles help to unify the approach to program delivery:
- Mothers and babies first — the health and well-being of the mother and baby are most important in planning, developing and carrying out the program.
- Equity and accessibility — the program must meet the social, cultural and language needs of the pregnant women in the community and must be available in all parts of the country.
- Community-based — decision making and action in planning, designing, operating and evaluating the program must be done as a community.
- Strengthening and supporting families — all parts of society share the responsibility for children by supporting parents and families.
- Partnerships — partnerships and cooperative activities at the community level are the key to developing an effective program.
- Flexibility — the program must be flexible to respond to the different needs in each community and to the changing needs and conditions of women in these communities.
Types of Support
CPNP supports include nutrition counselling, prenatal vitamins, food and food coupons, counselling in prenatal health and lifestyle, breastfeeding education and support, food preparation training, education and support on infant care and child development, and referrals to other agencies and services.
Each provincial/territorial government signed protocols that identify the priorities of their region and set out the terms and conditions for managing CPNP sites in their respective province/territory.
CPNP is jointly managed by using committees of representatives from federal, provincial/territorial ministries, and community organizations as appropriate. These committees are often called Joint Management Committees (JMC) and they determine how best to address their regional priorities and allocate funds.
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