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Samaritan’s Purse UK, Department for International Development partner to save children, mothers in Uganda
By Peter Wooding
Europe Bureau Chief for ASSIST News Service
LONDON (ANS) – Supported by UKaid from the Department for International Development, UK charity Samaritan’s Purse has launched a maternal child health project in Uganda that will drastically improve the life expectancy of children under five and their mothers.
The project will help many more mothers and their babies like these
Samaritan’s Purse has been working since 2006 with the vulnerable
populations in Northern Uganda to address health needs. From this work and from a review of the progress towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Uganda, the charity became aware that the Karamoja sub region was grossly underserved for maternal child health.
After winning its bid for funding under the British government’s Global Poverty Action Fund programme, Samaritan’s Purse began this £1 million three year project in April, 2012. This will provide essential maternal child health services in the Napak district of Karamoja to help reduce one of the highest maternal mortality rates in Uganda and improve the health of mothers and pregnant women.
One in five children dies before they reach their fifth birthday in this district, a much higher rate than the rest of the country, which is one in ten.
You Tube Video: Simon Barrington talks about MCH Project www.youtube.com/watch?v=i15uLMarqE8
Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington visiting the MCH clinic
“The main thing is that the health of mothers and pregnant women will improve and more children under five will survive. They’ll no longer suffer from malaria, cholera, dysentery and diarrhoea, but actually their mothers will be helped to look after them. They will be helped to grow and develop into healthy young human beings and have a secure future,” said Samaritan’s Purse UK Executive Director Simon Barrington, who has just returned from visiting Uganda and saw the impact of this project first hand.
“I went to Karamoja myself and went to visit some of the health clinics and in all the dialogue with health workers they definitely needed support. They don’t have the resources to get out to the rural communities there.
“So the ability for this project to mobilise 2,000 lead mothers in 2,000 communities that will provide ante natal and post natal care for children is a real boost for the health workers. This is a tremendous partnership between the local government in Karamoja, Samaritan’s Purse and the UK government.”
The project takes a three-pronged approach:
1. It empowers women with the knowledge, skills and attitudes they need to
improve maternal child health and access locally available services.
2. It addresses cultural barriers and engages the wider community to ensure
a supportive environment in which women are able to take charge of their health and the health of their family.
3. It supports health personnel to practise Integrated Management of newborn and childhood illnesses and lobbies Ministry of Health for improved service provision where it is lacking.
The long term aim is that 200 care groups will be established and their capacity built to promote maternal and child health in their communities and for 32,000 pregnant women and caregivers of children under 5 to be made aware of and demonstrating healthy maternal child health behaviours.
Also community members especially men will become supportive of initiatives to improve maternal and child health.
Simon Barrington concluded: “This support from the Department for International Development is a real recognition of the excellent work that people have seen us doing in the field, the quality of the work and also the effectiveness of it as well.
“We really appreciate this support from the British Government partnering with us to make sure this programme works well and is effective for giving healthy lives and a future for these children and their mothers.”
About Samaritan’s Purse UK
Samaritan’s Purse (UK & Ireland) is an international relief and development organisation that works through local churches to proclaim and demonstrate the love of God amongst communities in need in 18 countries across Africa, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
To find out more about Samaritan’s Purse in the UK, visit www.samaritans-purse.org.uk