In remote communities, where the nearest clinic may be six hours walking downhill on a dirt road, families rely on Traditional Birth Attendants, Health Monitors and Guide Mothers who are volunteers from their own communities. Through these volunteers, ChildFund teaches mothers and families about safe water management, HIV and AIDS prevention and treatment, proper pre- and post-natal care, nutrition and early childhood stimulation.
The Traditional Birth Attendants guide mothers through their pregnancies and help them prepare a birth plan. The program has succeeded in improving the knowledge, attitudes and practices of both pregnant women and maternal health providers. Maternal and child mortality decreased by 50 percent from 2006 to 2010, and the rate of deliveries in health centers (rather than unattended, at home) has risen from 35 percent to 50 percent.
When children are born, the Health Monitors begin to track their weight and the growth until age 5. These specially trained men and women provide vital health information to help families protect themselves from a variety of preventable diseases, including malaria and life-threatening diarrhea. Those they find with unhealthy weights are referred to Health Huts for care, nutritional assistance and further education.
Guide Mothers visit homes to teach the mothers about various aspects of child development — communication and language, motor skills and cognitive and socio-emotional development — and what is appropriate for a child’s age. With proper stimulation and health care, children are better prepared as they take their next steps, into school.