Hayek's daughter, Valentina, turned 1 year old before the trip and the actress spoke about the importance of breast-feeding, especially in underdeveloped countries such as Sierra Leone. In fact doctors there say that because malnutrition is so rampant they would like to see women in Sierra Leone breast-feed for two years. But such behavior is rare. The reason? Men urge their wives to quickly stop breast-feeding because of cultural mores that forbid sexual intercourse with breast-feeding women.
"It is the best thing you can do for your child, not only the bonding, that's how you build the immune system, so in a country like Africa imagine how important it is for the mothers do that," she said. "But here, there is the belief that if you are breast-feeding you cannot have a sexual life so the husbands, of course, of these women are really encouraging them to stop and this is just a taboo."
Despite all the challenges in Sierra Leone, Hayek is hopeful.
"It's a very complicated but very doable, very doable project," she said, one that she hopes to share with her own daughter one day.
"When she grows up I'm going to make sure ... when I continue to do this work that she comes with me and that she is in touch with all of these beautiful people and all of the different kids of people around the world and that she continues to be a generous and caring person," Hayek said. "I think that's the best thing I can give her as a mother."
For more information on the "1 Pack = 1 Vaccine" campaign and UNICEF's efforts to eradicate tetanus worldwide, visit www.unicefusa.org or call 1-800-4-UNICEF.