Supporting Community Health Workers
Over the past year, we have continued to support 20 Community Health Workers (CHWs) in Marmul district, Balkh province, providing them with essential medication, health supplies and the necessary training to provide basic healthcare services to villagers. CHWs are able to provide essential treatments such as oral rehydration salts, which is important as under-five mortality due to diarrhoeal disease is high in the region. Whilst women and children are a priority for CHWs, the whole population of Marmul benefits.
Visiting Midwives and Maternity Waiting House
We continue to support midwives from the local health centre to provide antenatal care to women living in remote villages of Balkh Province. We provide midwives with the necessary transport and supplementary pay to visit the villages every two months to provide antenatal and postnatal care. Women seeking treatment gather in either a house or, as seen in the above photo, just outside the village. As well as providing screening and treatment, the midwives also talk to pregnant women, and fathers where possible, about how to identify early complications and also to write birth plans.
Lack of transport to a health facility in the event of an obstetric emergency is a major contributor to maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity. For women living in the remote, mountainous villages of Balkh province, the only transport option may be a four hour journey by donkey. To help address this, we have introduced a voucher system through which families contribute to affordable emergency transport to health centres when they go into labour, and our contribution tapers over three years.
Provision of Clean Birth Kits
Visiting midwives provide clean birth kits to women towards the end of their pregnancy. Soap and umbilical cord care supplies help to reduce infection, and baby blankets and hats help to prevent newborn hypothermia. The project provided around 187 clean birth kits in the last three months of 2019.