Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone

by Health Poverty Action
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
Support 6,000 Mums & Kids' Health in Sierra Leone
We're helping families improve children's health
We're helping families improve children's health

Dear Friend,

Through our ‘Mama en Pikin Welbodi Project’ (meaning ‘Mother and child health project’ in Krio) we have been working with communities to improve the health and nutrition of pregnant women, mothers and children under five in rural Sierra Leone for almost a year now.

Below, we hear from a young father who has been supported to care for his infant daughter.

When Mohamed’s daughter Kadiatu was born, her mother became very unwell. The family turned to traditional medicine and eventually Kadiatu’s grandfather took her mother away for treatment, leaving Kadiatu in Mohamed’s care.

Mohamed explains: “With only my grandmother to support me, I struggled to earn a living and care for my daughter. I became concerned as the baby stopped putting on weight and became weak.”

One of the Community Health Workers trained and supported by our local team realised that Kadiatu was undernourished and advised Mohamed to take her to the nearest health centre. Health Poverty Action has been working with health centres in the region where Mohamed lives, ensuring that staff are trained and equipped to reach and support families in remote villages.

Mohamed continues: “We had to travel over five miles to reach the nearest health centre, using motorbike taxis and crossing rivers by boat. A nurse examined Kadiatu and told me that she was malnourished. She advised me on how to provide a more nutritious diet for Kadiatu and gave me ‘Plumpy Nut’ nutrition supplements to feed my daughter.”

On returning home Mohamed continued to feed Kadiatu the ‘Plumpy Nut’ supplements, but she developed diarrhoea.

Mohamed tells us: “I left Kadiatu with a neighbour so I could go to work, but I wasn’t able to relax knowing she was unwell. I left work early and collected my daughter, so I could take her for further treatment.”

The staff at the health centre were able to treat Kadiatu and ensure she didn’t become dehydrated as she recovered. Our local team supported Mohamed with livestock, supplying him with goats to provide an additional source of nutritious food and income.

Mohamed is grateful for the support his family has received:

“My child is slowly becoming stronger and putting on weight. Thank you for all the help you’ve given us.”

We have already supported over 3000 mothers and over 3000 children to improve their health and nutrition through this project. You can read more about the work we’re doing with communities in Sierra Leone here.

You can sign up to receive regular updates on all our work here.

Once again, on behalf of all the communities we work with, thank you for your contributions.

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We're helping families access vital treatment
We're helping families access vital treatment

Dear Friend,

Thanks to the contributions of many committed donors, our team in northern Sierra Leone has been able to continue working with families to safeguard their health and wellbeing. I’m happy to share news of the vital work we're doing alongside rural communities.

Through our ‘Mama en Pikin Welbodi Project’ (meaning ‘Mother and child health project’ in Krio) we have been collaborating with health workers and volunteers to improve the health and nutrition of pregnant women and children under five in Bombali and Karene districts for almost a year now.

Our team has already developed close relationships with health workers and community leaders across these districts, who are helping to identify and support those with the greatest need.

Despite the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, we have already supported over 3000 mothers and over 3000 children in hard-to-reach villages.

Our team in Bombali has been helping families like Martha and Wilhemina's (pictured above) to access vital treatment and support to improve their nutrition. We've already supported over 150 households to establish vegetable gardens and rear livestock, providing a sustainable source of additional food and income.

You can read more about how you're helping communities in Sierra Leone to improve families’ health and nutrition here.

Once again, thank you for all your support. We look forward to updating you on more of the work we are doing alongside our community partners in Sierra Leone over the coming months!

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Health workers are now trained to assess nutrition
Health workers are now trained to assess nutrition

Contributions from many generous supporters enabled us to launch the 'Mama and Pikin Welbodi Project' (meaning 'mother and child health project') in northern Sierra Leone last year. I’m happy to be able to bring new of the progress being made and share some encouraging messages from our team and partners.

The project is now helping to improve the health and nutrition of pregnant women and children under five in Bombali and Karene districts, by improving access to health and nutrition services for families in remote villages.

Despite navigating the challenges of the Coronavirus pandemic, this project has already started to support around 1,179 mothers and 1,267 children across hard-to-reach villages in Sierra Leone.

So far, by partnering with local communities, we’ve:

  • Facilitated women’s group meetings to spark discussions on nutrition and health. The groups participated in radio programmes and helped to raise awareness of nutrition in their communities.
  • Organised nutrition training for 15 Community Health Workers (CHWs), who are respected members of the community working with local health clinics in remote villages.
  • Trained 58 health workers to support and supervise CHWs, and to reach out to communities to monitor and improve nutrition.
  • Passed along 35 bicycles to CHWs so they can share their knowledge on nutrition with more families, and spot early signs of malnutrition.

We look forward to updating you further on the fantastic achievements of our team in Sierra Leone and our local community partners. Indeed, they would like to thank you for your support themselves. Please follow this link to view a short video message: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TUkRvXbt3iw

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Humu and Bilkish visit the malnutrition clinic
Humu and Bilkish visit the malnutrition clinic

As we prepare to launch the 'Mama and Pikin Welbodi Project' (meaning 'mother and child health project') in northern Sierra Leone, we revisit the story of a local family who have already benefitted from support to improve their health and nutrition.

Health Poverty Action has worked in the community for many years, training and supporting Community Health Workers and helping parents to safeguard their families' health. 

Humu is 20 years old, and is mother to one-year-old Bilkish. Humu tells us: “I was walking around the village with my daughter. The Community Health Worker saw me and my daughter and he told me about the service for malnourished children...I was worried before – I was going door to door seeking advice. My Aunty had to console me and calm me down. I was so worried for my daughter’s life. Her body was getting smaller and smaller.”

The health workers at Humu's local health centre assessed and provided emergency nutritional supplements for Bilkish, to help her regain a healthy weight. They continued to advise Humu, so she can ensure that Bilkish receives a balanced and healthy diet. 

When I ask her about her hopes for her daughter’s future she smiles: “First she will have to go to school! But after she finishes school my prayer is that she will be a minister of this country. I have a strong feeling she will be a minister.”

Your support means that we can continue to work with families like Humu's, so they can give their children the best possible start in life. You can find out more about our current work responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in Africa here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/act-to-prevent-coronavirus-spread-in-east-africa/

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Kabba visits Zainab and Alimany
Kabba visits Zainab and Alimany

Kabba has been a Community Health Worker in his remote village in Northern Sierra Leone for 2 years. He has been trained and supported by Health Poverty Action, so he can better help members of his community to deal with health issues.

Kabba explains: “Now I understand malaria and I can be an example to my community. I used to get malaria, but since the training I have been free of it.”

“Before I was a Community Health Worker I did not take medicines - instead I went to a traditional healer. But now I understand the benefit of medicines.”

Kabba is using his new skills to change things in his community.

“Children used to die of malaria. It is a quick killer. Now they are not dying! When a child has a fever I use my test kit, and I treat them. I am always thankful. I am called ‘doctor’ in my village!”

There are still some challenges:

“Some people use their malaria bed nets to protect their garden, or to catch fish. Now I make sure the nets are used in the right way. In the evenings I teach them how to use them properly.”

As well as working to prevent malaria, Kabba supports pregnant women and new mothers in his village: “After a mother has given birth, I meet her. I tell her don’t give the child any water before the age of 6 months.”

He explains to mothers that a child only needs breastmilk for the first 6 months of their life - if they replace this with water, their baby will become ill and malnourished.

Kabba's own family has benefitted. In the past he did not get his first child vaccinated - but now he is making sure his children get all of their vaccinations.

In the future Kabba expains he wishes his village to get solar power, so he can have a phone and be able to charge it up. At the moment he has to walk for over an hour to get to the health centre just to speak with the health professionals.

Kabba tells us: “I want to help our community. Now people are no longer dying. When there was no Community Health Worker, more pregnant women were dying, but now there are fewer deaths.”

We join Kabba’s as he visits a woman named Zainab and her child Alimany, who is under 2 years old. He is checking up on the child after a recent illness.

Zainab explains: “The child was with me at home, when he started warming and getting a fever. As the fever grew I decided to go to Kabba. Kabba did a malaria test and my son was positive. Kabba was then able to treat him. I thank God!”

“Without Kabba my son would have been in a bad condition. I thank Kabba when he is around. We thank Health Poverty Action for teaching Kabba to support us. If the Community Health Worker was not there bad things would happen. I might have lost my child on the way to the hospital in Kamikwie. It is a long walk.”

Zainab explains that Kabba is always there to give advice: “Kabba has given me advice even just to cover up in the rainy season, and to wear slippers and clothes to cover our skin against malaria. He also advises us to clean the compound well to avoid attracting mosquitos.”

Even when Zainab gave birth to her son, she got good advice from Kabba and the health centre. She knew to breastfeed for the first 6 months, and now also gives him milk and rice dishes.

Zainab tells us: “In the future I want my son to become President or a doctor.”

Your support means that we can continue to work with Community Health Workers like Kabba, so they can continue to change lives in their communities.

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Organization Information

Health Poverty Action

Location: London - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @HealthPoverty
Project Leader:
Siaffa Bunduka
London, United Kingdom
$945 raised of $6,330 goal
 
24 donations
$5,385 to go
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