What you need to know:
- A group of mothers in Mandera have taken up the task of ensuring no child dies of malnutrition and no woman loses her life while giving birth.
- They share knowledge on good nutrition and general health wellbeing of their children and themselves.
- They are about 60 in the area and are divided into two groups of 30 each.
- Started in August 2019, the mother-to-mother program receives support from Action Against Hunger, with funding from USAid.
- There are several community health volunteers trained to support the project.
- Started with only five mothers but the number keeps growing as more women get interested.
The rough terrain leading to this township is characterised with hilly and winding roads through several villages.
Eymole town is located near the Kenya-Ethiopia border and approximately 26km from Mandera.
It is a treacherous and tiring drive to this urban centre where a group of mothers have taken up the task of ensuring no child dies of malnutrition and no woman loses her life while giving birth.
Ms Fatuma Hussein is one of the founding members of the mother-to-mother group. She says the women came together to support proper nutrition for their children and improved welfare of expectant mothers.
“We came together as women and sought to find ways of handling mother and child health issues we faced including sharing knowledge on good nutrition and general health wellbeing of our children and ourselves,” she says.
We find a group of at least 30 women sitting under a tree, to shield themselves from the scorching sun, discussing maternal and child nutrition issues.
“We are about 60 in the area and we are divided into two groups,” she says, adding that the mother-to-mother support groups aim at educating and empowering the local women.
Started in August 2019, the mother-to-mother program receives support from Action Against Hunger, with funding from USAid.
Action Against Hunger is implementing the ‘Integrated Emergency and Recovery Response program’ to support vulnerable communities affected by drought in Mandera County.
The project aims at responding to health and nutrition security needs of the most vulnerable communities affected by drought and floods.
There are several community health volunteers trained to support the project.
“We started with only five mothers but the number keeps growing as more women get interested in what we do,” Ms Hussein says.
Ms Saadia Ali, a member, says she has learnt the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six month of a baby’s life.
Ms Ali joined the mother-to-mother support group during her second pregnancy.
“I learnt the benefits of having a proper diet and my second child was born healthy without any complications,” she says.
“It is not easy for men to understand the issue of good health and child spacing in our society but we have devised ways to have talks about nutrition, how they can support their wives especially when they are expectant and also family planning.”
In Mandera, Ms Hussein says, it is common to see a woman pregnant just four months after giving birth.
“This is common and it has a negative effect on the mother’s health as well as the baby,” she says.
During the sessions, the women take account of those pregnant to ensure they attend ante-natal clinics and for lactating mothers, they ensure they regularly get post-natal services.
“We have learnt the danger signs during pregnancies and many women’s lives have been saved because of receiving this knowledge,” adds Ms Hussein.
Banisa Sub-county public health nurse Mr Hussein Nurow says health officers are involved in the program to offer expert advice.
“We are engaged in offering expert services to the women by answering their concerns and demonstrating the need to practice proper dieting, exclusive breastfeeding and family planning,” says Mr Nurow.