2015 might not be the end of the world, but it will be a time for some serious reflection. You see, that’s the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). And sadly, of the eight MDGs, Goal 5 – Improve Maternal Health, has progressed the least since 2000.
In April this year U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced a Joint Action Plan to improve reproductive, maternal and newborn health. “We know women are the drivers of progress,” Ban said. “In the poorest societies of the world, it is women who care for the children. They grow the crops, hold societies together. Women deliver – and not just babies. And if we deliver for women, we change the world for the better.”
Safe Arrivals is now in its fourth year of delivering quality, women-centred health information, effectively touching thousands of women, their families and their communities across Cambodia.
“Healthy women mean healthy communities and traditional birth attendants can be a great source of important health information” says 2h founder Kate Taylor. “In recognising the special place that these women hold in their communities the Safe Arrivals program aims to train TBAs to be, what we would understand as informal ‘community health workers’.”
The program covers sexually transmitted diseases, contraception, nutrition, sanitation, breastfeeding, immunisation as well as the specifics of pregnancy and childbirth. And the benefits to the community are numerous; HIV awareness, birth control and child spacing, less chronic and acute illness, decreased infection, and reduced infant and child mortality rates – just to list a few.
But most significant of all – Safe Arrivals is pressing toward the goal; improved maternal health, making sure mums are kept safer and healthier in Cambodia.