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Maternal and child health

Each year about 287.000 women are dying due to complications during pregnancy and child births, 99% of them in developing countries.

Those women who survive complicated pregnancies and birthing processes often suffer permanent damages to their health. Considering that pregnancy is neither an illness nor a disease makes this picture even more alarming.

The reasons for maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity are manifold. Among the most severe are: the lack of medical personnel and missing access to and knowledge on reliable family planning methods. According to WHO 3, 5 million additional health workers including 350.000 birth attendants would be needed to close the global gap in medical care.

Following its aim to improve the quality of life for people living in developing countries, action medeor is active in the areas of family planning, medical care during, before, and after pregnancy as well as in prevention of sexually transmittable diseases. However, none of the mentioned topics can be seen isolated from sexual and reproductive health. According to the official definition by WHO sexual and reproductive health describes ‘a state of physical, mental and social well-being in relation to sexuality and requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free of coercion, discrimination and violence’. This is why topics such as early marriage, teenage pregnancies, healthy relationships and social and rights-based aspects of sexuality and reproductive rights are included in action medeor projects.

action medeor pursues various approaches to promote sexual and reproductive health and rights of women living in developing countries. One crucial aspect is creating awareness which is done amongst others by supporting sexual education classes in schools or training health personnel. Teachers, local decision makers and students are sensitized and act as multipliers in their communities while additional health personnel are trained in order to fight the shortage of accessible medical services.

In Guatemala action medeor works with partner organizations in two different projects on maternal and child health. Traditional birth attendants are trained and provided with the opportunity to intern in national hospitals before they return to their communities where they are responsible for the training of new birth attendants.

In Bolivia and Colombia action medeor is working explicitly on sexual and reproductive health and rights. In cooperation with local partner organizations student representatives, their parents and whole communities are being sensitized and included in awareness raising workshops. Youth centers are being equipped and public stakeholders in the field of education, health and law are approached in view of future cooperation.

In Somalia action medeor supports a local partner in rebuilding and equipping a local health station, including a children’s ward for malnourished children. The staff is receiving medical training and awareness events on maternal and child health are held in the surrounding communities.

In Togo awareness raising campaigns on sexual and reproductive health are conducted, legal, social and psychological council on matters of sexual and reproductive health is provided and former sex workers are given the opportunity to participate in vocational trainings to become hair dressers or tailors.