Using radio to communicate to rural women and health workers

Our team in Mozambique is using local radio to inform listeners about good maternal health practice. The following is based on an interview with Argentina Munguambe, Project Training Coordinator, by Jessie Forsyth, Project Director. The half-hour interview has been aired on community radio in Inhambane Province, Mozambique. Produced by Don Kossick, the radio show was accompanied by music from the local singer ZZ Mama, on the empowerment of Mozambique women. Thanks also to Tanya Dunn-Pierce and Kyla Avis for their contribution to the project’s work on care pathways.

Jessie: Can you tell us about the work the project is doing on developing care pathways to improve maternal deliveries? What do you mean by that?

Argentina: In developing a care pathway, we visualize the journey a pregnant woman would take, from her house to the facility where she will deliver. Community members and health workers come together to think about, for each woman, what obstacles will she encounter, what will create problems or delays, and how can we best support her to have a smooth and healthy journey.

Jessie: Let’s start with the woman herself. What can she do?

Argentina: The woman must be prepared as much as possible for her delivery. She should make sure she has a birthing plan that she has received from her pre-natal session. At her pre-natal sessions, she will also find out her level of risk and that will tell her if she has special measures she must take – medicines, which hospital, how much ahead of time she needs to present herself, and so on. If she has other children, she must think about who will take care of them while she is away.  She must also think about how she will get to the health care facility for delivery, who will accompany her to support her, and that she will have the family support she needs when the time comes, including the ability to decide about her journey. 

Jessie: What should health workers do?

Argentina: First, they should think about how to make sure the woman gets good information about her pregnancy, including her birthing plan, and what she will need to do. They need to communicate well, with patience and respect. And when she comes to a facility for delivery, she needs to be guided to the appropriate place and treated well. Health workers need to practice with skill and attention, work well with each other, following protocols and communicating well.

Jessie: What should community members think about?

Argentina: The community should think of itself as a network of support for the pregnant woman. Her family should know about her birthing plan and help her with it.  Health support workers (APES), traditional birth attendants and healers can check on her to make sure all is well, especially as the time approaches. Community leaders can organize ways for her to get to a facility, when the time comes. All should be prepared to play a helpful role so that the woman’s journey is made easier.

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