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Equipping health workers to provide better maternal care

A CCFC project arms health workers in Ethiopia with supplies, equipment and training to help pregnant women, mothers and children

By Semereta Sewasew, communications manager, Ethiopia

“The medical equipment donated to our health centre is changing the lives of mothers and children,” gushes Sintayehu Ayele, a health officer from Garero, Ethiopia.

Sintayehu remembers a time when he didn’t have the equipment he needed and was forced to refer pregnant women and children — with limited means of transportation — to a hospital more than 80 km away. “Many community members were discouraged and very unhappy with our services,” admits Sintayehu. But, that’s all changed. “We [can now] provide them with a range of medical services.”

Thanks to funding from the Government of Canada, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC), through the Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality (CAIA-MNCM), has donated essential medical equipment and supplies to health centres and health posts to manage childhood illness in rural Ethiopia.

Medical equipment and supplies, for children under the age of five, as well as pregnant and delivering mothers, was purchased based on community needs. For example, the project provided delivery kits, stretchers and iron folate — given to improve the developing intellectual health and motor skills of the fetus.

The CAIA-MNCM team also held educational sessions with nearly 500 health workers. “That boosted our confidence [in handling] birth complications and in using medical equipment,” affirms Sintayehu, who was trained on topics such as basic emergency obstetric and neonatal care, integrated management of newborn and childhood illness, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV, healthcare waste-management training as well as case management and infection-prevention.

The project is only just beginning and healthcare practitioners already have access to more equipment, supplies and training to provide better treatment to pregnant women, new mothers and children.

Check back for more success stories about CAIA-MNCM, which runs until 2020.

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More about the project:

The Canada-Africa Initiative to Address Maternal, Newborn and Child Mortality is a partnership among four Canadian organizations — Amref Health Africa, Christian Children’s Fund of Canada, Centre for Global Child Health at The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) and WaterAid Canada. With support of $24.9 million from the Government of Canada (85 percent of the total project budget), this four-year project (2016 to 2020) aims to directly reach 1.7-million women, children and men across 20 districts in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Tanzania. The partners are working together with African communities to improve the delivery of essential health services to moms, pregnant women, newborns and children under the age of five; increase the use of these improved health services; and improve the consumption of nutritious foods and supplements.

More about Christian Children’s Fund of Canada:

Christian Children’s Fund of Canada (CCFC) is a child-centred international development organization and a member of ChildFund Alliance. For nearly 60 years, CCFC has worked with children, communities, donors and other partners — changing lives through improved health, education and clean water. CCFC works in 12 countries across Africa, Asia and the Americas, to support more than 700,000 children, youth and community members.