Maternal, Newborn and Child Health
Our main goal is to address maternal, newborn and child mortalities. We do this by identifying expectant mothers in their first trimesters and enrolling them into our safe motherhood education program to help them complete their antenatal clinic schedules and prepare them for safe births in health facilities. After delivery, we take them through post-delivery and child care education to ensure their children have a safe beginning in life and grow healthily thereafter.
We also engage adolescents through reproductive health and rights education sessions to help them make informed choices in life. We aim to keep this cohort continuously engaged through the safe space that we create to ensure that they can always share their issues and get advice and support with basic necessities like sanitary towels without feeling intimidated. We also partner with local football clubs through which we engage youths (boys and girls) through sports as platforms for health sensitization and mentorship.
When we visit our participants’ homes during enrollment into our program, poor hygiene often manifests from most of them. At BLS, we’re not only concerned about safe deliveries, but also the quality of the environment into which our newborns are introduced. We thus blend our health education with critical topics relating to maternal and newborn hygiene. Through continuous home visits, we also assess hygiene and the situation improves tremendously by the time these mothers deliver. Their water and waste handling and practices completely improve. These women can now treat drinking water, collect and burn wastes, and clear bushes around their houses. A number of them have also constructed basic latrines. Last year alone, 12 families under our program constructed latrines.
So far we have eight cohorts of mothers who have already delivered under our program. We have organized them into self-help groups and trained them on income-generating activities to help them become financially independent and to support their families. Among the training they have received include soap making, basket weaving, and table banking. It’s amazing to see the groups becoming gradually more and more active. Through table banking, they contribute, save and also lend and borrow money amongst themselves. We also recently purchased two egg incubators which help our women groups hatch eggs for their poultry units. The groups also currently have four goats.
We believe that mothers and children have a critical role to play in conserving the environment for future generations. As they bring forth younger generations, we sensitize them on the effects of climate change and the role that they can play in reversing it. Similarly, as the trees grow- we believe our mothers remember their BLS experiences and the lessons learnt, hence sustaining the knowledge gained. So far, our mothers have planted over 5,000 trees. Encouragingly, every time they receive these saplings, they add and plant more on their own and also encourage their neighbors to adopt this practice. Men have not been left behind by this project either. Their wives have helped some of them become more actively involved since they also value trees.