DR Congo, Sierra Leone, Uganda… Mother Buddies go international

 

The success of the IMPACT Mother Buddies programme in Malawi and Nigeria has made other countries in the region keen to get on board.

Democratic Republic of CongoDRC group

Chasing Zero’s Executive Director David Deakin went to DR Congo a few weeks ago to see how they were getting on with a small pilot programme of a dozen Mother Buddies. After one year, the results have been encouraging and rural communities are keen to continue. Thanks to a new partner organisation on the ground in DR Congo, David was able to spend some time training local trainers who will teach 30 more keen women to be Mother Buddies.

Much of DR Congo is very unstable due to ongoing civil war and unrest. This has all sorts of effects on families living in rural communities, including a stubbornly high maternal death rate. The Mother Buddies there will offer additional help with nutrition and other issues that affect the health of pregnant women and their families.

Sierra Leone

Over on the west coast, the IMPACT Mother Buddies programme is starting up in Sierra Leone this month. David and local partners have been training the first group of Mother Buddies and Co-ordinators who will start working across a few rural villages.

Sierra Leone is currently the most dangerous place in the world to give birth, with the highest rate of women losing their lives through pregnancy or childbirth complications. To give you an idea, per 100,000 births, 1,360 women lost their lives in 2015, compared to 9 women in the UK. The area that these Mother Buddies will be working in also suffers from a bad nutrition problem, so they’ll help to meet these needs alongside their pregnancy support role.

We’re aiming to set up Pregnancy Twinning to support the programme in Sierra Leone, so you’ll be able to twin a pregnancy with a mum there soon!

Uganda

Last but not least, the IMPACT Mother Buddies programme should be launching in rural Uganda in July. We’ll keep you informed. Uganda is one of the top ten countries in the world with the highest HIV prevalence, along with Malawi.

Mum power!

The programme’s success in Malawi and Nigeria has shown that mum-to-mum peer support really works. For women living in rural communities, having somebody ‘like them’ who has been through the same experience and understands all the challenges they face, who comes alongside to share their advice is really effective. We’re excited to see mums and babies kept safe and well, and more children born free from HIV in these new countries over the next year. Watch this space.

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