Thanks to generous funds from globalgiving donors, along with match-funding from our partners, BRAC has made substantial strides toward improving maternal health in West Africa. In the last year, BRAC trained a total of 984 community health workers who have provided pre- and post-natal care to more than 38,000 women in Sierra Leone and Liberia. In addition to providing these services, BRAC staff conducted reproductive, maternal and child health information sessions with village health committees as well as with mother's groups in local communities. This grassroots approach aims to educate communities about maternal health to reduce child and maternal mortality rates in both countires.
While we can see the effectiveness of our programs in communities where we operate, there are still tens of thousands of mothers in LIberia and Sierra Leone who have little or no access to healthcare. To be truly effective, we need to operate at scale. Luckily this is a lesson BRAC knows well. To make a big impact in the lives of mothers all over Liberia, we need to continue expanding the program, recruiting more community health promoters and supporting and strengthening the existing health system.
To add an additional challenge, the Ebola epidemic has hit both Liberia and Sierra Leone in areas where our programs operate. This deadly virus puts a severe strain on an already over-burdened, under-resourced health system. BRAC is working to arm our community health promoters with tools and resources they need to educate their communities about how to prevent, diagnose, and treat Ebola.
BRAC learned in Bangladesh that it could acheive big strides in healthcare by making basic preventive and curative services available at the community level. Enter the Community Health Promoter (CHP), both a healer and an entrepreneur. BRAC trains women from the community to bring low-cost health care to her neighbor's doorsteps. She earns a living and is able to support her own family while providing life-saving services to her community. The CHP and other community-based health workers are the foundation of our health programs in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
In Liberia, the health program now reaches more than 539,927 people in seven counties with basic preventive care. By the end of February 2014, 584 CHPs and 300 Traditional Birth Attendants have undergone training for The Reproductive, Maternal and Child Health project. They provide family planning services as well as ante- and post-natal care. By February 2014, a total of 53,346 cycles of oral contraceptives and 5,607 female condoms have been distributed in the communities. By February 2014, 19,244 pregnant women received antenatal services in 105 communities.
Though a bit smaller in scale, the health program in Sierra Leone is seeing similar gains. By February 2014, a total of 701 CHPs have been trained. They have conducted a total of 3,979 village health meetings, provided ante-natal care to 4,127 women and post-natal care to 3,850.
We'll keep you updated as we receive reports from the field. Thank you for supporting this important work!
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