Helping Children Survive to 5 in Bolivia


Addressing high rates of newborn and child mortality around the world remains one of the most urgent health issues of our time. Every year, over 9 million children under age 5 die. Incredibly, almost two-thirds of these deaths are caused by easily preventable and treatable illnesses.

The majority of these deaths occur among children living in marginalized and remote areas that lack access to trained health professionals or well-equipped health facilities.

Save the Children is committed to supporting the Bolivian Ministry of Health in delivering proven, existing life-saving health and nutrition interventions to families living in hard-to-reach, remote communities. This important effort requires Save the Children to raise $1.8 million to help implement a five year comprehensive health and nutrition program to children under age 5, women and adolescents. We are pleased to share this overview of our program and invite you to consider pooling resources with the gifts of others to support this project.

BACKGROUND Bolivia suffers from serious health inequities, especially for rural, indigenous children living in small communities ranging from the high Andes to the steamy and flood-prone lowlands of the Amazon. Distance and remoteness contribute to the challenge of providing adequate health services. Approximately half of the rural population lives at least a one hour walk away from the nearest health post and some must walk over ten hours to reach the nearest facility― which may or may not have adequate staff and supplies. Cultural and linguistic differences may also prevent effective treatment.

Save the Children is committed to assisting the Bolivian government in providing effective health care to the youngest and most vulnerable. Our Community Case Management (CCM) strategy reaches children at the village level with early and appropriate treatment for common, yet serious, childhood illnesses. Its simple and cost-effective interventions involve carefully-selected community members who are trained to assess, classify and treat children with signs of infection; the local Ministry of Health which is strengthened to support, supply and supervise community-based workers; and families who are trained to recognize and seek care for signs that indicate serious disease.

PROJECT IMPLEMENTATION In order to attain the long-term objective of reducing illness and preventing maternal and child mortality in Bolivia, Save the Children has prioritized the following strategies: -Promote evidence-based models and strategies -Strengthen health systems -Promote healthy practices at community level -Advocate for improved funding and policies

Measures of Success: At the end of the pilot program, we expect to have: -Established agreements with local authorities to expand methodologies -Adapted methodologies to local contexts -Trained community health promoters (volunteers) -Trained local health workers in support of community health promoters -Supported mid-level Ministry of Health workers in supervision of the above mentioned processes -Supported central level Ministry of Health workers with print material, editing and mainstreaming activities. -Developed Communication strategies with multi-media health messaging campaign -Signed agreements with national, departmental, municipal and community authorities -Developed advocacy strategy for Community Case Management

In the communities covered by this program, children under five (at least 8,000), women of reproductive age (at least 12,000) and adolescents 10-19 years (8,000) will directly benefit each year from improved access and quality of services. The program impact will be further expanded by reaching the following indirect beneficiaries: 10.000 older children; 100 health staff; 400 teachers, and 200 community leaders.

The Saving Newborn Lives Program in Bolivia and Guatemala is undertaking an operational research program in Oruro, Bolivia, and in Ixil, in Guatemala thanks to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The focus of the operational research is on post natal care for both childrens and mothers. We have learned that that this period, immediately following birth is the most vulnerable period for newborns, especially during the first week of life. It is also a period when mothers and newborns often do not have access to health services.

Ideally, newborns and mothers would receive care within six hours of birth, and then within three days after birth.

We are looking at three models of attention for newborns and mothers. First of all, we are recommending that health promotors, usually community volunteers, make five home visits to weigh the newborn, take the termperature of the newborn, and check the respiration rate of both the newborn and the mother. The health promotor should also try to detect any signs of danger or risk which require other support from the nearest health center. We know that we have to provide more training to health promotors and government health workers to follow these recommended practices.

An expected result or product from this ongoing research in Guatemala and Bolivia will be the development of a training package which focuses on home visits for newborns immediately following birth and the required attention for mothers. We believe that the knowledge gained from this operations research study will lead to a reduction in newborn deaths and improved attention to mothers. We are calling this approach, Six Hours, and Three Days.

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Thanks to 48 donors like you, a total of $3,717 was raised for this project on GlobalGiving. Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.

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Project Leader

Megan McLain

Manager, Corporate Partnerships
Westport, CT United States

Where is this project located?

Map of Helping Children Survive to 5 in Bolivia