A Promise worth Keeping

EIC Media Desk– Caitlin Bouwma

Emmanuel International Canada (EIC) has been working diligently over the past year to establish a firm footing for its new project in Malawi: Maternal, Newborn and march19-flood-relief-1Child Health. “This is an issue that can no longer be overlooked,” Richard McGowan, Executive Director of EIC stated.
“Reaching to the communities to promote maternal and child health is of the utmost importance.” Because of this need, EIChas helped form PROMISE.

PROMISE (PROmoting Maternal, newborn, Infant and child Sustainable health Efforts) is a project to be implemented by a consortium of three organizations, EIC, ADRA and Christian Children’s Fund Canada. With the financial support of Global Affairs Canada and consortium donors this project will strive to reduce maternal and child mortality. EIC will be centralizing its efforts in Malawi, among six health clinics and over 300 villages. Within the communities, PROMISE will seek to improve the delivery and utilisation of essential health services to mothers, pregnant women, and all children under the age of five. Additionally, this project will inform patients of the benefits of increased consumption of nutritious food and supplements for mothers and children. The PROMISE project is a commitment to help preserve the precious health of mothers and children.

Why Maternal Health?

While Canada has been blessed with little to no anxiety over childbirth, this is not the case within many third-world countries such as Malawi. According to WHO, every day around 830 women worldwide succumb to preventable complications following their pregnancy or childbirth. Infections, bleeding and other threats during the birthing process are among the leading causes of maternal death; 99% of which occur in developing countries. Whether it is because of poverty, distance, low level of knowledge or inadequate services, mothers and children are needlessly suffering, and it is our promise to help.

Educating men, women and the youth about the many ways in which they can improve and maintain maternal health is among the first steps to save countless lives. As more communities become aware of the opportunities and necessity for a project like PROMISE, more lives can be saved. Our target areas experience a low level of knowledge of the safest, most hygienic and healthiest ways to care for a baby. In fact, many do not realize that there are safer methods available to them! Because of this, the country experiences a lack of skilled workers, infrastructure and transport in regards to maternal and child health. The need is evidently great; there are many women and children who need this kind of promise.

What can be done to help?

EIC within the PROMISE consortium has developed a four-year plan to work with the people in a life-altering way. Choosing target areas where the need is most prominent, PROMISE will work to not only enhance the maternal and child health services, but also improve the accessibility to such services as well. PROMISE works to create and maintain supportive maternity care, establish secure environments for mothers and children and ensure supportive supervision.

PROMISE has many components; each can be adapted to individual communities to best suit needs, all the while promoting the same causes. In Malawi, these components will take the shape of personal relationships and accountability between care groups and Health Surveillance Assistants. The best way to help comes with education and provision of adequate services; both are emphasized in PROMISE’s four-year plan.

And so, in light of this, EIC humbly takes on this project towards greater maternal health. Our hopes and prayers stay with all those in Malawi and Canada who are involved with the teaching and implementation of this project, as well as the thousands of recipients. The need to lower the devastating statistics regarding poor maternal health is great, and PROMISE is a vow to do all that is possible to help preserve that precious life. As we see it, this is a promise worth keeping.

Caitlin Bouwma

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Project undertaken with the financial support of the Government of Canada provided through Global Affairs Canada