Samaritan’s Purse is educating woman in Mozambique about the importance of proper health care practice during pregnancy and childbirth
Imagine giving birth to your child on a small cot after having waited for weeks in a cold, drafty shack made of reeds. It’s exactly that thought that keeps many women in Mozambique from going to health centers to give birth.
Although trained medical staff members are available at health centers, many mothers choose to remain in their villages to give birth with the help of traditional midwives. These conditions are not always safe, lending to Mozambique having the 13th highest infant mortality rate worldwide.
Samaritan’s Purse is dedicated to helping mothers grow in their knowledge of proper maternal care in order to combat the high infant and mother mortality rate, as well as equipping communities to assist those women who are pregnant.
“This mortality is from a lack of knowledge,” said Jorge Chicatse, manager of the program.In the community of Macomane, Samaritan’s Purse is sending trained health workers into communities to fight traditional preconceptions about pregnancy that are dangerous to mothers and babies. We are raising awareness about the necessity of visiting health centers before, during, and after birth, and educating women about the importance of proper care during pregnancy.
Because of the training, many expectant mothers are now eating healthy to provide nourishment for themselves and their unborn children. They are also learning about the importance of antenatal check-ups. Children who are born in the health centers not only have a better chance at life, but they also receive vaccinations and are registered with the government. Children who are unregistered are unable to receive social services and register for school.
“The objective is to remove those taboos that the communities have,” Chicatse said. “When I go on a visit and see the little card checklist of the prenatal visits, I am very happy when it’s full.”
Rogerio is a community representative in Macomane. He said that since being trained by Samaritan’s Purse, health workers now take more time during home visits to check on the mothers and babies and educate them before leaving.
The babies’ fathers also need education. Because of their traditional roles, women typically are heavily involved with household chores throughout their pregnancy, and don’t want to leave home until their labor pains force them. Often, because they waited too long to make the journey to the health centers, they end up giving birth along the way.
By training husbands to support their wives and allow them the rest they need, Samaritan’s Purse is helping the women to make the move to the health centers in time. Trained groups of community activists and health workers also receive a pair of oxen and a cart to transport pregnant mothers.
Most importantly, mothers are receiving spiritual support as well as physical help. As the community health workers share God’s Word, the expectant mothers have the opportunity for transformed lives through faith in Jesus Christ.
Just as there is great joy for each mother as her new child comes into the world, so there is an even greater joy for each new child of God that sees the light of His salvation.