Doctors Worldwide began a maternal and newborn care program in Qambar Shahdadkot in May 2011. It is one of the most deprived and remote districts of Sindh bordering Balochistan, with a population of 1.2 million.
According to a 2013 study by Save the Children, Pakistan is the 3rd highest ranked country for babies dying within the first day of birth. More than 65% of women in Pakistan deliver their babies at home and unskilled Traditional Birth Attendants assist with more than half of deliveries. This is higher in rural areas.
Instead of building medical facilities we decided to take a different approach and focus what would change behaviors amongst women and those involved in maternal health in rural areas. To maximise impact we decided on a 3 year project utilising a public health and preventative based approach based on research evidence. We created a multifaceted project to lower maternal and neonatal mortality (babies dying within the first 28 days of birth). Our program is delivered through a Family & Community care package, which focuses on three areas:
– Education & Counseling of women of a reproductive age in each village on aspects of pregnancy and the importance of eating properly & exclusive breastfeeding.
– Providing Clean Birthing Kits and micronutrients such as iron and folic acid to pregnant women.
– Training local traditional birth attendants to a high skilled midwife level using a combination of powerful visual education tools and classroom teaching.
For the three years ended Jun 2014, we:
– Visited 478 villages and carried out 549 training sessions for local villagers
– Registered 7,581 pregnant women.
– Supported the safe delivery of 5,415 babies.
– Gave out 5,915 clean birthing kits.
– Trained 128 traditional birth attendants in modern midwifery techniques.
– Provided anti-natal care to 5,438 women