Mozambique-Canada Maternal Health Project Highlights
Blog By Denise Kouri
Jessie Forsyth, Director of the Mozambique-Canada Maternal Health project, was recently in Canada. At a meeting of the project’s Canadian associates, she talked about key project developments.
In the communities, leadership development and community engagement of women and men is ongoing and continues to be the base of our work for women’s empowerment. The project supports monthly meetings in each of 20 rural communities in 5 districts, in addition to educational and other activities. This year, there are now 10 active micro-projects, including flour mills, latrines and chicken and egg production. By next year, there will be 15. This year, the community-based education sessions on maternal and newborn health newly included school-based sessions on reproductive and sexual health, directed at adolescents. The community-based work has been led by Ruta Massunguine, part of our Inhambane team, and enabled by 5 project community support workers (one per district). On the Canadian side, Dr. Rachel Gough provided sessions to teachers in sexual health education.
Jessie also talked about training local midwives and others in the community who play a role in women’s deliveries. As she explained, the purpose of these sessions is not to increase skills in delivery for these participants but to create networks of people, informed of each other and their roles in helping pregnant women to reach the nearest health facility in a timely way. We are also helping with transportation, which is a big issue in these rural locations with poor road access. This year, we provided 3 small ambulances, which we are testing for their appropriateness, before providing additional ones next year.
The photo on the right depicts a network training session. You will note the participation of a Canadian UofS student, part of a Making the Links group visiting the project in June.
At the health system level, our project supported the graduation of 54 new MCH nurses this year. In professional development,we held training sessions on managing obstetrical complications, emergency newborn care and the correct use of MCH medical equipment. Sessions are delivered in both large group format, and in followup on-site visits. This work is led by Argentina Munguambe, part of our Inhambane team. She also spearheaded the adaptation of flow diagrams designed by the Ministry of Health to improve the effective of MCH practitioners in working together. The project is distributing the adapted diagrams to ensure wider uptake. On the Canadian side, Dr. Eddie Rooke and RN Karen Chan provided support to training sessions and also in adapting the diagrams.
In addition to these highlights, Jessie also reported on ongoing project activities, in research, management support, and infrastructure improvement. We will keep you posted on further developments through our blogs and website.