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Stories: Children, Community, Future

Knowledge means power for maternal and child health

Before 2010, women in Luc Binh commune gave birth at home without the assistance of any trained doctors or healthcare staff. Nor did they have access to postpartum checkups. In addition, low community awareness on issues such as child nutrition meant many mothers only breastfed for the first three months, and weaned their newborns with rice soup after that. As a result, the malnutrition rate for children under five was over 13% in 2010.

One of the first projects ChildFund implemented in Luc Binh was maternal and child health. This project included improving the range and quality of health care services available at the local clinic, and organising education events, themed talks and contests on reproductive health care, nutrition, childcare and disease treatment for health workers, pregnant women, mothers and care givers.

Since 2010, the clinic has become a proper health centre, providing services for local people and children. The number of health workers increased from two to five. Health workers and village volunteers have been provided with professional knowledge on child and mother care, gaining additional experience through visits to quality health centres in different ChildFund’s project areas.

“I had never learnt such effective mother and child health care methods like this before. It helps me a lot at work,” says Trang, a healthcare worker

Trang shares with Phay about mother and child care information

ChildFund also built a child-friendly corner inside the health clinic and provided equipment, materials and toys to improve the experience of children visiting the centre. Pregnant women were supplied with iron and multi-vitamin tablets while malnourished children received calcium biscuits and supplementary medicine. The health centre also provide periodic vaccinations and growth monitoring check-ups for children under five and malnourished children regularly.

A friendly and stimulating environment makes the waiting more relaxing

 

“I had a safe birth delivery at the health centre three months ago. Now my daughter has reached nine kilograms. I am taking maternal leave from work to stay at home so I can breastfeed her. I also often bring her to the health centre’s yard because it has many outdoor toys for my daughter to play on!” shares Phay, a local mother.

Like Phay, other mothers in the communes now know when to start weaning, how to do it properly and how to prepare child meals using locally available and healthy ingredients. The rate of malnourished children has reduced as a result.

“Thanks to all these improvements in health care, children are realising their rights to grow up in a healthy environment and enjoy the best possible personal health,” says Trang.

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