Over the past 10 years, the Scottish Government's International Development Fund has supported Christian Aid's programmes in Malawi, Bangladesh and India. During this time we've received over £3 million of funding for eight different projects.
In this first of a short series of articles looking at some of these projects in more detail, Keryn Banks, our Scottish Projects Manager, describes a current project in Malawi.
Maternal, neonatal and child health in Karonga, Malawi
Since 2013, in partnership with local organisations FOCUS and MASHAP, we've been running a community-based maternal, neonatal and child healthcare project in Karonga District, in northern Malawi.
The project aims to reduce maternal mortality rates and improve neonatal and child health in an area that has been poorly served in the past.
By working with both village leaders and the district health office, utilising existing women's groups and establishing 'Men as Partners' groups, we've brought together a large number of stakeholders to ensure an effective project.
Now in its final year, the project has demonstrated some very clear outcomes:
- 61 health surveillance assistants have been trained to carry out antenatal and postnatal care in the community
- 49 village clinics have opened
- 100 men have been trained as 'Men as Partners' trainers, and they have engaged with over 20,000 men on maternal and child healthcare issues in the past two and a half years, resulting in increased attendance by men at antenatal care appointments and during perinatal care
- 112 women, from 70 separate women's groups, have received training on maternal health issues which they have shared with their groups, improving knowledge of sexual and reproductive rights, nutrition, under-fives health, how to recognise warning signs during pregnancy, and family planning
- In the last six months, 4385 women have been referred for services at the health clinic by traditional birth attendants who have been re-trained as 'mothers' helpers', and who now encourage expectant mothers to access healthcare services during pregnancy rather than to deliver at home
- Three motorcycle ambulances have been supplied to improve access to healthcare for women in more remote areas
Jane Mhango contracted tuberculosis of the bones at the age of 21, when already a young mother.
Her disability complicated her most recent pregnancy, meaning her husband was struggling to take care of their family and pay for Jane to get to the health clinic to access the treatment her high-risk pregnancy required.
But after Jane's husband got in touch with a health surveillance assistant, our project was able to help Jane to get to two antenatal appointments and then to give birth at the district hospital. Jane needed to have a caesarean section, which would have been difficult or dangerous to perform anywhere outside of the hospital.
Now Jane has a healthy baby girl and says:
'The worst fear I had when I first realized that I was pregnant was the thought I am going to die as my situation is already fragile and life threatening. I have no hope. Thanks to [the] project … I have hope and faith that I still have life to live…'
By match-funding, at a ratio of 7:1, the money raised by churches across Scotland which committed to our Karonga community partnership, the International Development Fund has ensured improved outcomes for many families like Jane's in Karonga District.
And though this funding comes to an end in March 2016, Christian Aid will be able to extend this project across more of Karonga District in the coming years thanks to UK aid match-funding secured last Christmas. This will mean that the benefits of this successful project reach many more mothers in the future.
Find out more
For more information about Christian Aid projects which have been funded by the Scottish Government's International Development Fund, email Keryn Banks, or call her on 0141 241 6141.
Share this article