Maternal and Child Health Clinic Data
The average number of
- clinics per month: 41
- mothers educated monthly: 1,195
- adults treated: 500
- children under 5 treated: 528
- children under 5 dewormed: 271
- children under 5 given Vitamin A: 207
- children participating in growth monitoring: 777
By educating mothers, we have a significant impact on the health of their children. As Kenya’s Bureau of Statistics found: “the biggest differential in the under-5 mortality ratio in Kenya is related to mother’s education. Children whose mothers are not educated are 46% more likely to die before age 5.”
Furthermore, studies have shown that “mother’s health knowledge is the main pathway through with mother’s education affects child health outcomes.” By providing clinical services to children under 5 years old, HopeCore hopes to see healthier children entering school at age 4.
Each clinic includes:
Health education lectures specific to mothers and fathers and under-5 children on topics, as outlined in the 14 child health survival and maternal well-being technologies, such as: breastfeeding, early childhood nutrition, family planning, child spacing, oral rehydration therapy, danger signs of malaria, clean water in the homes, and hygiene;
Clinical services for children, including growth monitoring, malnutrition screenings, immunization checks, and more, from our community health nurse, as well as volunteer partner professionals who specialize in the fields of pediatrics and female health;
Clinical services for mothers, including family planning modalities, HIV testing and counseling, the importance of prenatal vitamins, and screening for iron deficiencies.
We work through 4 main modalities to reach the goals of our maternal and child health program.
The first modality of the program is education. Providing education for mothers on various health topics related to themselves and to their children is essential for a sustainable health intervention. Arming women with the knowledge to make informed decisions empowers them to provide quality care for their children. “Improvements in the health of pregnant women and new mothers will play an important role in generating further reductions in child mortality.”
Through the health days, mothers gain access to regular (3 times per year) educational discussions right in their own communities on various health topics. The topics covered through the education sessions with the mothers on the health days incorporate each of the 14 child health survival and maternal well-being technologies.
As stated above, education will help prevent common illnesses in mothers and children. Through increased knowledge, mothers will be able to change their behaviors and the behaviors of their children in order to prevent many illnesses, for example, enteric infections due to improper hand hygiene. Prevention has time and again proven to be less expensive than treatment, and in a low-resource community, like Maara Sub-County, providing the least expensive option is very attractive.
Furthermore, looking beyond the cost-benefit analysis it is essential that we prevent recurring illnesses in children. Recurrent illnesses have long last effects on children and their development in the future and increase the likelihood of malnutrition, stunted growth, delays in development, and life-long struggles with health.
Therefore, if we can prevent some illness in childhood, we are creating a healthier community in the long-term. The easiest way to do this is through educating the mothers in our community and equipping them with knowledge surrounding our 14 child health survival and maternal well-being technologies.
While we recognize the importance of education and prevention, we also realize that treatment is often necessary. Children and mothers present with a range of illnesses and complaints that need to be treated by clinical staff. We have a nurse at each of our health days to treat mothers and children.
We carry a variety of medicines for both mothers and children to each of the health days, record all illnesses, and prescribe medicine to treat these illnesses. Additionally, our nurse follows-up to track the progress of any severe illnesses.
Vitamin A supplement and deworming medication are also easily procured by attending mothers and children by visiting our nurses in the clinic taking place next door to the educational sessions. As previously mentioned Vitamin A supplementation and deworming are 2 of the 14 child health survival and maternal well-being technologies.
Advising mothers is a key aspect of our program. Traditionally, information flows by word of mouth from neighbor to neighbor or mother to daughter. The information that is passed is not always accurate, and can easily be misunderstood and misconstrued as it is passed. By adding a new source of information, and contributing to the flow of information, we hope to spread knowledge related to positive behavior change and good health. Through our health days, we will advise mothers on how to approach various illnesses. These mothers can then take this information and share it with others. For instance, rather than ignoring danger signs of dehydration, women are now equipped to act on behalf of their children.
All the advice given comes from a recognized health professional and will continue to be shared with neighbors and daughters, contributing to more accurate information being passed through traditional paths of information flow.