Mothers and their children attending the safe motherhood session in Wasua.
From 9-15th February, the CMCA Middle and South Fly Health Program (CMSFHP) Essential Obstetric & Newborn Care (EOC) Health Extension Officer, Maria Rumints, conducted a supervisory visit at Wasua Health Sub Centre in Manawete CMCA Trust region.
The main purpose of the visit was to monitor and provide clinical support in the areas of EOC to the health workers. However, it was through community engagement activites advocating safe motherwood where a real difference was seen.
A meeting was organised by the women’s leader to bring together the community and students from the primary schools to create a space advocating for safe motherhood. Women were given the opportunity to raise health concerns they have and information was provided on antenatal and maternal health, including the importance of delivering in a health facility supervised by a trained health worker.
One hundred and four women and their children attended the meeting. The women were able to identify and discuss some of the challenges they face in accessing health services. Although no men attended the session, other than the Wasua Ward Councillor, they are encouraged to become involved in safe motherhood practices.
Exceptionally, eight women came to have their births supervised at the health centre in just the 2 weeks following the ‘Safe Motherhood’ advocacy meeting. This was one of the first times a figure this high was recorded in one month.
“This was a great response by women with the support of their families, recognising the importance of having a supervised birth at the health facility. This was the beginning of a change when information could be transformed into achievements,” Rumints said.
CMSFHP provided training in EOC in 2014 and 2015 for health workers across Middle Fly, Suki Fly Gogo, Dudi, Manawete, and Kiwaba CMCA regions. A crucial component of the program in the coming year is to provide clinical supervision visits such as this one to the trained health workers and adovcate for safe motherhood practices in these communities.
CMSFHP is funded by the CMCA portion of the Western Province People’s Dividend Trust Fund through Ok Tedi Development Foundation and implemented by Abt Associates.