Maternal and child health programming

Dramatic change starts with mothers and children

Want to help a community lift itself from poverty? Start with the mothers. For more than six decades, mothers and children have been central to CARE Canada. As a leading international humanitarian organization, our experience has shown that improving women’s health is essential for helping communities lift themselves out of poverty.

The Canadian International Development Agency’s important investments made through the Muskoka Initiative have allowed CARE Canada to significantly upscale our efforts on maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) programs. This work has specifically targeted four countries where the need is greatest: Ethiopia, Malawi, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

And it could not come a moment too soon.

Thanks to the support of the Government of Canada, our teams are on the ground working closely with families and villages along with regional and national governments to address underlying socio-economic, structural and governance challenges.

In Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Malawi, CARE is focused on improving the nutrition of mothers and children in areas where chronic malnutrition and maternal and infant mortality rates are high. This means:

  • Improving the nutrition of mothers;
  • Increasing the access to a more nutritious diet;
  • Addressing factors that affect the nutrition and health of communities (e.g. hygiene, water and sanitation, etc.) so that improvements for mothers and children are sustained; and
  • Empowering women with a greater voice to make decisions on what food to buy and consume in the household.

In Tanzania, CARE is working on improving the maternal and reproductive health of vulnerable women and adolescent girls in one rural district that has the highest maternal mortality rates in the country. More than 500,000 women and 100,000 newborns are expected to benefit. Our efforts are focused on:

  • Increasing the knowledge, awareness and access to financial resources of women and adolescent girls;
  • Improving the maternal and reproductive services at health facilities;
  • Bringing health services closer to the women and adolescent girls who need them most; and
  • Increasing the capacity of health authorities in the management of maternal and reproductive health services, as well as their responsiveness to the needs of their communities.

These MNCH programs will not only improve the lives of mothers and children, they will ripple across entire communities. By the time these projects are completed in 2015, they are expected to reach nearly three million people. Overall, CARE Canada’s MNCH work will serve as a significant starting point for dramatic change in the lives of future generations.

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