Tackling Maternal & Child Mortality Rates in Latin America: Mobilizing & Harnessing High-Level, Private Sector, Philanthropic & Multi-Stakeholder Engagement
Programming Partner: Wellbeing Foundation Africa
Wellbeing Foundation Africa has been implementing highly-effective programs in West Africa regarding maternal health and child wellbeing, and there is an opportunity to apply some of their learned lessons and successful programs in Latin America and the Caribbean. As stressed by Elizabeth Peters, maternal and child health is a global issue—“Childbirth in Nigeria doesn’t change in its mechanics to childbirth in Latin America.”
One of the identifying features of the Wellbeing Foundation’s approach to maternal and child health in West Africa is that it is community-driven. The organization works alongside community health workers to provide women that are expecting, delivering, or in their first years as a mother with holistic care. This care for both the mother and the newborn has a significant impact on wellbeing and child mortality. The care includes education around hygiene, water, sanitation, nutrition, delivery, and caring for a newborn.
“Success would be a world where women can give birth safely, and to children who are healthy and also grow up healthy, but to get there, we need more collaboration,” Elizabeth Peters.
For its programs to be successful, the highest praise from Peters went to the midwives. Other important actors in the realization of the Wellbeing Foundation’s programs are Chelsea & Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, which assists with research on feeding programs, the London School of Hygiene, which has been instrumental with data analysis and Fortify, for their technical and practical solutions.
Fortify has provided fortified tomatoes to be used in everyday cooking in order to improve nutrition. Another nutritional aid is Lucky Iron Fish, a solid metal fish that, when boiled for five minutes, leaves essential mineral traces in the water that can be used for cooking. This simple solution helps reduce the risk and the number of cases of anemia.
Wellbeing Foundation Africa is a member of the Concordia Action Alliance, a body of organizations that is opening doors for the creation of partnerships and collaborative activities focused on addressing disaster response and resiliency.
Key takeaways & next steps:
Governments, private sector companies, NGOs, and communities must collaborate to implement tried and tested holistic care programs to help expecting mothers as well as new mothers and their newborn children.