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Photo Credit: Phil Bowen
Keeping moms and babies healthy can be challenging when resources are scant. Perhaps nowhere is this more evident than in sub-Saharan Africa. In Uganda and Tanzania, for example, where fertility rates are among the world’s highest, maternal and child deaths remain exceptionally high. For every 100,000 live births, more than 500 women and nearly 16,000 children under age 5 die. Not surprisingly, the survival and health of young mothers and children will be a key determinant of how these countries fare in the 21st century.
To improve the health outcomes of women and children—and ultimately, to reduce maternal and infant mortality—WellShare is implementing community-based health programs in collaboration with local government health facilities.
Somali Child Spacing Program promote better health of mother and baby
Numerous unplanned, unspaced pregnancies can lead to increased risks for both maternal and child morbidity and mortality. In Somalia, for example, the average woman has 7 children, but not all will survive beyond their first year. Infants in Somalia, for example, die at a rate nearly 18 times that of infants in the United States. While Somali women in Minnesota experience lower infant death rates because of improved access to healthy care, family planning—or child spacing—remains a critical issue for the 40,000 to 60,000 Somalis who now live in this state. Read More
Of every 1,000 children born in Tanzania, 112 will die before they reach the age of 5. Close to 21,000 women will die of pregnancy-related causes in Tanzania—a figure far higher than in the vast majority of other countries. Because many districts do not have adequate access to health facilities or trained practitioners, many births occur outside health facilities under the sole supervision of untrained birth attendants. Hoping to improve the outcomes of Tanzania’s infants and expecting mothers, WellShare created the Tanzania Child Survival Project. Read More
Creating programs that keep moms and babies alive is only the first step to improving the health and welfare of mothers and their children. Young mothers need to learn how to be mothers. They need to learn about childhood development, childhood nutrition, and preventing childhood diseases. In order to devote themselves to raising healthy children, mothers also need safe avenues to generate income that keep their families financially secure. At WellShare, we are addressing these key issues by forming and supporting a community-based initiative known as Survive and Thrive Groups (STGs). Read More