March 31, 2017

Maternal Health Update


Diarrhoea and malnutrition are the two highest causes of child death under the age of five in Cool Earth’s Asháninka partnership. That’s why the top priority for mothers there was to set up a programme focusing on health. Thanks to our supporters, last year we ran an initial set of workshops for 75 women. Fifteen women were elected to be health promoters, and are now sharing their skills with mothers and families across the partnership.

With the help of specialist NGO One Heart Worldwide, the health promoters completed training in the nearby town of Satipo to tackle basic sanitation, nutrition and infant health issues such as handwashing and food safety. Being away from the community enabled the group to focus on getting the most out of the workshop, without having to tend to their daily activities. Using role play and humour broke through taboos about discussing uncomfortable subjects.

One Heart Worldwide gave advice about keeping areas of the community free from standing water to avoid malaria and other water-borne diseases. The women learned how to treat a baby suffering from diarrhoea, how to form a balanced, nutritious meal and how to construct a “tippy tap” for hands-free handwashing. Of all the topics discussed, the “tippy taps” were the most well-received, and 105 families have since constructed their own. The health promoters have reported a decrease in incidences of diarrhoea as a direct result, which is fantastic news.

In December 2016, three maternal health promoters from Cool Earth’s Asháninka partnership travelled to the Awajún partnership in northern Peru as part of a knowledge exchange trip. The promoters ran workshops on hygiene and sanitation with the Awajún women, who have proposed a similar project to address the public health concerns of their community. Sharing knowledge in this way is key to how Cool Earth’s partnerships will grow in the future. It’s thanks to our supporters that we could develop this smart model that’s keeping families strong enough to defend their forest.

 

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