HEALTHY MOTHERS, SMILING BABIES
When a mother loses her child, a part of her also goes with the child, and she will never ever be the same. Heartbreaks, loss of hope, frustrations and sorrow are just a few of the pain a mother goes through each time she loses a child. A baby’s smile melts the heart and calms the soul of a mother which is the greatest wish of every woman. When a mother holds her newborn baby and looks at that precious smiling face, it feels like all her worries just float away. Unfortunately, at the mercy of some cultural practices and lack of information, some mothers lose their lives and/or that of their babies through child birth after 9 months of sleeplessness. The effect of a mother’s death results in vulnerability of the infants who are more likely to die before reaching their second birthday.
A study published in the Lancet which covered the period from 1990 to 2013 indicates that, the most common causes of maternal deaths are postpartum bleeding(15%), complications from unsafe abortion (15%), hypertensive disorders of pregnancy (10%), postpartum infections (8%), and obstructed labor (6%). Other causes include blood clots (3%) and pre-existing conditions (28%).
According to UNFPA, four elements are essential to maternal death prevention. Prenatal care is recommended for expectant mothers to receive at least four antenatal visits to check and monitor the health of mother and fetus. In addition, skilled birth attendance with emergency backup such as doctors, nurses, and midwives who have the skills to manage normal deliveries and recognize the onset of complications. Also, emergency obstetric care to address the major causes of maternal death which are hemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, hypertension disorders and obstructed labor, and postnatal care which is the six weeks following delivery.
Most of the causes of maternal and child mortalities are preventable but due to the lack of information many are left at the mercy of some religious beliefs and cultural practices which has a negative impact on the lives of pregnant women. Savana Signatures, a non-profit organization in Ghana is implementing the Technology for Maternal and Child Health (T4MCH) project. This project has an ultimate goal of contributing to the reduction of maternal and child mortalities in Ghana.
The Mobile messaging and Knowledge Sharing Session (KSS) strategy used by Savana Signatures’ T4MCH project addresses the four main elements recommended by UNFPA. Literate mothers and their partners have the option of registering for weekly SMS reminders whiles non-literates also have the option of registering for the voice messaging with their preferred language. At the moment, the project offers messaging in eleven (11) Ghanaian languages. The couple is registered based on gestation period and monitored until birth and 6 months after to realize the satisfaction of a healthy mother and a smiling baby. It is fulfilling saving the life of a mother by a simple call to remind her of the importance of taking her routine medication prescribed by her health provider, when to go for her next ANC visit, nutrition, danger signs in pregnancy, signs of labor and the need for her to seek medical care where necessary.
Male involvement is very necessary during the pregnancy and after delivery stages. Men are encouraged to enroll on the mobile messaging platform in order to have firsthand information on the need and benefits of supporting their wives throughout child bearing. Some cultural practices prevent women from attending early ANC which is the most delicate stage of pregnancy. Men are the decision makers in most homes of rural communities, thus the Knowledge Sharing Sessions (KSS), an innovative add-on to existing health talks makes use of ICTs to design, package, and communicate maternal and child health information to pregnant and new mothers, partners and relatives at the health facility and community level. These sessions are in two folds, the facility KSS and the community KSS.
The facility KSS is carried out at the health facility for pregnant women, new mothers, partners and relatives who are visiting the health facility for ANC and PNC. The community KSS is held at the community level and brings together opinion leaders, family heads, and decision makers to encourage them to discuss MCH issues and to disabuse their minds on some of the myths about pregnancy and its related complications. This allows dialogue between health workers and community members.
The journey towards the reduction of maternal and child mortalities is a collective role. “I never knew how much love my heart could hold until someone called me Mom”. These are the words of a healthy mother who has a smiling baby. A baby is a blessing. Join us to create a world of “healthy mothers and smiling babies”. The passion is on, come with us, contribute your quota towards this course!
Technology for Maternal and Child Health Project,