Archive for the Child Survival Category

Timber and Straw: The Story of a Village Clinic in Malawi

Posted on Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 at 10:04 am

By Michael Hanly, Desk Officer for Malawi and Zimbabwe, Concern Worldwide

Concern Worldwide is supporting village clinics throughout Malawi, making health care more accessible for women and children.

In many of the countries where Concern Worldwide works, health care services can be extremely hard to come by. Malawi is no different. Mothers often have to walk for hours to get to the nearest health center—a major barrier that keeps them, and their children, from getting care when they need it.

Concern is working to make health care more accessible to communities in two areas in central Malawi, Nkhotakota and Dowa. The point of the program is to prevent and treat the major killers of children under five years old—malaria, respiratory infection, diarrhea, and malnutrition—by working with the Ministry of Health to make sure there are trained health workers based in villages, not just in centralized health centers. Read the rest of this entry »

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Protecting Life Where Death is Everyday Conversation

Posted on Friday, October 5th, 2012 at 9:11 am

By Megan Christensen, Health Officer, Concern Worldwide US

 

I have been lucky to visit many of the countries where Concern Worldwide works. In my travels, I met many people and witnessed many things, some inspiring and some heartbreaking.

My most recent trip to Sierra Leone was no different.

Concern Health Officer, Megan Christensen holding a newborn child, whose mother took the initiative to seek immediate-care at the health facility after being encouraged to do so by her husband, the community and Concern.

Sierra Leone is a country emerging from ten years of civil war and armed conflict. I saw commitment to work from the ground-up to rebuild. The people are positive and hopeful. The government is active and forward-thinking. I was there last February, and in a year and a half, I have seen progress.

This is partly because of an initiative that the government took in 2010 to provide free health care to women and children. Today, more women and children are accessing health care, and more of them are aware of when and how to access it.

However, there are still major challenges. Some clinics still struggle with having a steady stream of supplies, like antibiotics. We still don’t have all the information we need to understand why people are dying and what they are getting sick from. For example, we know that 60 percent of births are happening in birth facilities, in the presence of a trained birth attendant, but that’s only half the picture. Where is the other 40 percent giving birth?  Who is with them?  Why did they not go to a health facility?

Read the rest of this entry »

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Off the Grid: A Dispatch from Burundi

Posted on Tuesday, August 21st, 2012 at 10:17 am

By Jennifer Weiss, Health Advisor, Concern Worldwide US

I started my work in Burundi around a year ago. Before I visited the country, I remember my colleague describing Burundi to me. “It’s off the grid,” she said.

Jennifer Weiss forgoes the van and continues her journey cross the rickety bridge on foot.

The comment struck me as odd. I assured her that I had lived in Africa before and was more than prepared for the work that lay ahead.  I couldn’t possibly understand what she meant by “off the grid.”

I quickly learned. Burundi, despite its geographic proximity to Tanzania, Kenya, and Rwanda, countries with growing economies and booming tourism industries, is heartbreakingly poor. In fact, Burundi is one of the world’s five poorest countries. I knew this statistic before departure. However, it wasn’t until I arrived in Burundi’s capital city of Bujumbura that I completely understood my colleague’s description. While in other capitals there are new businesses and construction, in Bujumbura there are none to be seen. When I asked a friend of mine who had been in Burundi in the ‘80s to explain how the capital had changed since then, she frankly responded: “It hasn’t.”

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Battling Africa’s Number One Killer

Posted on Friday, April 22nd, 2011 at 2:28 pm
Mukarurangwa Cecile, a community health worker in Marebe, Rwanda visits the home of Valentine, 3, to examine the cause of his fever. Photo: Esther Havens, Rwanda.

By Jennifer Weiss – Health Advisor, Concern Worldwide US

According to estimates from the United Nations and the World Health Organization (WHO), nearly one million children do not reach their fifth birthday because they die from malaria each year.  Ninety percent of these deaths occur in Africa, where malaria remains the number one killer of young children.  An additional 30 million pregnant women and their newborns are also at risk of malaria infection, which may lead to stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, low weight, and neonatal death.

Pregnant women and children die from malaria because they lack access to low-cost, effective solutions to both prevent and treat the disease.  Concern is working to change this through our USAID-funded Child Survival programs in Rwanda, Burundi, and Niger, which provide life-saving malaria prevention and control to a total of 1.2 million women and children. Read the rest of this entry »

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World Malaria Day 2010-gaining ground on a stubborn killer

Posted on Friday, April 23rd, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Philip Wegner is Health Advisor for Concern Worldwide’s Child Survival programs in Haiti, Burundi, Rwanda and Niger.

In Western nations, most people don’t think twice about mosquito-bites except as a minor annoyance.

However, as Health Advisor for Concern Worldwide’s Child Survival programs, I cannot help but wonder how the world would be altered if the mosquitoes that cause so much suffering in Africa or Asia did the same thing here?

At one time, malaria was also present in the West—but its impact never compared to the illness and death it brings to people in developing countries. Read the rest of this entry »

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Visiting Concern-run health program in Haiti – Sandra Feeney-Charles

Posted on Friday, December 18th, 2009 at 4:56 pm
Mother and Child participating in Concern's CMAM program in Haiti

Mother and Child participating in Concern's CMAM program in Haiti

As I walk from crib to crib in the hospital, not trusting myself to speak for fear I will cry, I think of my own two girls, and how by a twist of fate they could be lying in one of these beds – hooked to an IV – being fed milk from a cup.  I spent just 48 hours in Haiti, but this was my far the single most difficult. Read the rest of this entry »

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Five Hours Away Mothers Are Still Dying During Childbirth

Posted on Monday, November 23rd, 2009 at 4:23 pm

In Cite Okay neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, poor sanitation and water quality have been a major threat to the health of the community. Concern has been working with local organizations, youth volunteers and health committees to clean up neighborhoods and promote clean, litter free environments.

In Cite Okay neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, poor sanitation and water quality have been a major threat to the health of the community. Concern has been working with local organizations, youth volunteers and health committees to clean up neighborhoods and promote clean, litter free environments.

It is difficult to imagine that just 700 miles from United States soil, mothers are still dying in childbirth and children continue to pay the ultimate price for contracting such preventable diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

For Haitians, the health situation is the worst in the western hemisphere. To make matters worse, the country is threatened by extreme weather conditions including major hurricanes and tropical storms that are destroying infrastructure and uprooting livelihoods. Read the rest of this entry »

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HEALTH ADVISOR PHILIP WEGNER – BURUNDI

Posted on Wednesday, October 14th, 2009 at 1:11 pm
Soldiers running together in daily exercise routine near the DRC border

Soldiers running together in daily exercise routine near the DRC border

Getting to Burundi

This is my second time now within the past two months that I have had to transit through Nairobi, Kenya en-route to the African Great Lakes countries (Rwanda and Burundi). Read the rest of this entry »

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