Every year, 40 million women give birth at home without the help of a skilled birth attendant, and every day 800 women die during pregnancy or childbirth.
If mothers have poor nutrition this can have lifelong impacts on their own health, and that of their children. For women in marginalised and hard-to-reach communities, accessing nutritious food and health services is often challenging and this can lead to higher levels of maternal and child mortality.
Plan International is training birth attendants to help women to have safe deliveries and to minimise infections to reduce levels of maternal mortality. We are providing postnatal care to mothers and newborn babies, providing reproductive health information to women, especially adolescents and facilitate parenting education sessions that focus on nurtition, breastfeeding and simple methods for preventing diseases such as malaria and water-borne diseases.
Healthy mothers are more likely to have healthy children and access to information, medical assistance and having their opinions heard are important steps towards reducing materal and child mortality.
Kanchanamala, 30, is mother to three children in Moneragala District, Sri Lanka. When Kanchanamala and other mothers in her community noticed the low weight of their babies, they started a collective feeding programme.
After recieving training from Plan International staff, these mother started feeding their children a wide range of nutritious food from their gardens and they started to record what their children were doing and eating each day.
They also sang, taught their children about nature and tried to develop their five senses.
We call this ‘feeding the five senses’. Through these activities we try to ignite ‘light bulbs’ in the brains of our children. We constantly monitor how many bulbs we light in our children every day,” explained a happy Kanchanamala.
The mothers weighed their children at the monthly clinic and could see they were gaining weight. These mothers are now sharing their knowledge with others in their community and across the country.