Bringing health to children in Niassa

Anglican Communion News Service reports on a joint project with Episcopal Relief and Development in the Diocese Niassa in Mozambique:

“Four years ago, in every ten children we found three with problems of malnutrition,” said Alen, a member of the health committee in Mtumba, a remote village in the northern region of Lago District in Mozambique. “But when we visited the families [this year], we didn’t find any child with problems of malnutrition.”

Child health and development is just one of the priority areas for the Salt, Light, Health program (Sal, Luz, Saude in Portuguese) in the Anglican Diocese of Niassa, Episcopal Relief & Development’s partner in northern Mozambique. The program began in 2005 in response to community requests for assistance on health issues, since nearly half of the population lives more than 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) from the nearest health center. Too many children were dying from easily preventable and treatable diseases, such as malaria, diarrhea, respiratory infections, malnutrition and parasites. In response, Salt, Light, Health has mobilized communities to strengthen their own health systems by establishing oversight committees and nominating volunteers to receive education and outreach training.

In total, Salt, Light, Health has increased access to health care and education for more than 22,000 people since its inception, and from 2008 to present it has expanded from 24 to 44 communities through its partnership with Episcopal Relief & Development. Knowledge and practice surveys reveal significant changes in health outcomes, including a 50% decline in child mortality rates, a 300% increase in vaccine completions for children aged 12-23 months and a 500% increase in pregnant women seeking two or more prenatal consultations with a trained birth assistant.

More on this project and Episcopal Relief and Development here.

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