■Group representative: “I have nothing but gratitude” / Komeito councilors stand by and move the prefecture forward
“Without Mr. Nishimura, nothing would have started. I can only be grateful.” Mr. Sakagami tearfully expressed his emotion after completing the Little Baby Handbook.
In 2018, Sakagami gave birth to her first daughter, Mei, who weighed 370 grams. She experienced the sadness of not being able to record her growth until she weighed one kilogram in her traditional maternal and child health record book. She said, “I don’t want other mothers of children born small to go through the same process.” In July 2021, he established the “Kanagawa Little Playpen,” and he has repeatedly requested the prefecture to create a handbook, but nothing has come of it.
Meanwhile, I received a call from someone involved with Little Playpen in Nara Prefecture. Since the New Komeito Party’s Nara Prefectural Assembly was promoting the creation of a handbook for Nara Prefecture, they decided to ask if they could introduce the Kanagawa Prefectural Assembly. Afterwards, Prefectural Assemblyman Nishimura, who was contacted by Nara’s Prefectural Assemblyman Yoshiaki Kamikou, called Sakagami, and the two were connected through the Komeito network.
Tears filled the eyes of Prefectural Assemblyman Nishimura as he listened to Mr. Sakagami’s story. After repeated discussions with Mr. Sakagami, he expressed his thoughts on behalf of the prefectural assembly representatives in September 2021. The following month, a meeting was arranged with Governor Yuji Kuroiwa and Mr. Sakagami and others, and major steps were taken to make this a reality.
A prefectural review committee was set up to prepare the plan, and members of Pena were included in the discussion, which was held three times in total. We took the time to listen to the voices of many people, including conducting a questionnaire survey of about 3,000 family members of those affected, and the plan came to fruition.
■Enriched content including advice and messages
The completed Kanagawa Prefecture Little Baby Handbook is A6 size and has 65 pages in total. In addition to having a page with advice for mothers with multiple pregnancies, it also features detailed growth curves by weight for low birth weight babies.
In addition, we put a lot of thought into each wording and the placement of the illustrations, so that they can be warmly attached to moms and dads and alleviate their anxiety. In addition, messages from many senior moms and dads are included. It will encourage those who pick it up.
“To ensure that the handbook reaches those who need it, we would like to increase opportunities for the handbook to become known through photo exhibitions at Pena and visits to municipalities within the prefecture.” Mr. Sakagami hopes that the handbook will bring peace of mind and smiles to as many people as possible.
Prefectural Assemblyman Nishimura is enthusiastic, saying, “The Little Baby Handbook is not a goal, but a tool to help mothers.We will continue to expand the circle of understanding.”