Maternal Health Update

Hand washing in Cool Earth's Ashaninka partnershipLast spring we told you about the Asháninka’s plans to train women in the community to be maternal health promoters. A household survey had shown that a third of families had lost a child, with the majority dying on the day they were born.

The first five minutes of life are the most important; an infant is 20% less likely to reach a month old if they are poorly at birth.

To stop this needless tragedy, Cool Earth held workshops with women to discover what the most common problems were. Overwhelmingly, health problems for new babies and young children were caused by dirty water. So volunteers trained by Cool Earth have carried out hygiene workshops in five villages this year.

The workshops involved building awareness of the need to boil water for drinking and cooking, cleaning hands and simple solutions for reducing diarrhoea in infants. Families have also been trained to build and use ‘tippytaps” from cheap recycled locally sourced material. These are a simple way of washing hands with soap and clean water when there’s no bathroom. The Asháninka are planning to install one in every village in the community. We’d like one in every house.

The impact of the workshops has already been felt. Women who have been boiling their water have told us that their children don’t get sick any more.

cool-earth-ashaninka-nancy-health-promoter-1200x800Nancy, the health promoter in Camantavishi, has been teaching the rest of her village about the benefits of cleaning your hands before and after cooking, and of boiling drinking water. She has seen a significant drop in infant stomach bugs in the village.

It’s vital to the continued health of the forest that the new generation of forest protectors are healthy and strong. And thanks to you, the children in our Asháninka partnership will be just that.


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