Africare News In Brief

 

Africare Health Program: Integrated Maternal and Child Health (IMCH) Project in Zambia

 

WASHINGTON, DC, Monday, May 16, 2011 –. Maternal mortality rate in Zambia is amongst the highest in the world with an estimated ratio of 591/100,000 live births. Causes of maternal mortality include poor access to family planning services and skilled birth attendants, malnutrition, and early marriages. In Collaboration with the Zambian Ministry of Health, Africare is implementing a $2.29 million Integrated Maternal and Child Health Project funded by the New Zealand Aid Program. The goal of the project is to improve maternal, neonatal and child health outcomes in four remote districts of Kasama, Mpika, Samfya and Lundazi in Zambia.

 Africare has trained Safe Motherhood Action Group (SMAG) volunteers to provide a wide variety of maternal and child health services including family planning, obstetric fistula prevention, maternal and child nutrition, organic farming and other livelihoods activities. The project began in 2008, and as of December 2010, Africare had reached 60,500 people with health promotion messages, and the project is making a real difference. With over 2300 SMAG volunteers supporting community mobilization activities to shift health seeking behavior, facility based births have doubled and maternal deaths have been virtually eliminated in Africare’s intervention areas. Support from community and religious leaders, and increased male involvement in seeking maternal and child health care services for their families are among the strategies Africare is using to reach the objectives of this project. Data is showing a shift in health care seeking behavior (see Figure 1 below), which is a critical to improving health outcomes.

 

 

Given the accomplishments to date, more success is anticipated by the time the program concludes at the end of 2012, and Africare is actively seeking new funding opportunities to scale up these interventions in other areas in Zambia.

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(Updated April 2011)