From care pathways to community solidarity, our project acts in many ways!

Denise Kouri and Don Kossick report from the field in Mozambique, where they are currently visiting the project.

Denise: I’m excited to be here working with the Mozambican team. We’re just over half-way in this 5 year project, and it’s a great opportunity to do some group reflection about what we’ve accomplished and how to plan for the future. We’re workshopping a tool for expanding the concept of a “care pathway” for a woman’s delivery, starting at her home and community (identifying supports and decision points) and moving to and through the health system. We will also be workshopping a tool for talking about sexual health and rights with adolescents. And we’ll work together to repeat two types of appraisals with health system managers: (1) an opinion survey about elements of good management and the role of women’s empowerment and (2) a key informant assessment of the health system’s performance in the area of maternal and sexual health. But one of the other interesting parts of my visit is following up on our Maternal Experience Study, in which we are capturing Mozambican women’s stories. Fascinating!

Mozambique Care Pathways meeting

Don: One of the highlights of my work here is to get out to our partner communities, to visit members and follow up on activities. Since arriving in the country, Denise and I have been up close to the critical issues that people here are contending with. Throughout the countryside, there is a widespread drought. This drought has undermined the subsistence level of many communities. In addition to the hunger and poor nutrition caused by crop failure, there are secondary effects. For example, some of the microprojects we are supporting, such as the grinding of corn into corn flour – an important staple of the diet – are operated by women and their livelihood is directly affected by loss of corn. They have developed some other creative uses for the grinders but this is a major setback both as a food source and as a source of supplementary income. More positively, I am happy to see that the community-level Health Committees are functioning to help members deal collectively with the drought crisis. Our project’s work with the Health Committees in ongoing, providing a valuable connection to the rural people of Inhambane.