Posts Tagged child survival

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?

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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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Initiating Concern’s “Pro-Sante Child Survival Project”

Posted on Thursday, January 14th, 2010 at 1:43 pm
The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

The desert of Niger from the air, tiny clusters mark out the villages beneath

I am en route to Niamey, Niger’s capital city, and from there I will continue on to the Tahoua region, where Concern works. I am travelling to help set up a new five-year Child Survival program that we are undertaking in collaboration with the government of Niger. The program will deliver child health and nutrition services in a rural area. 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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