Community Health workers reduce the risks of child and mother mortality

“My name is Widia.  I’m a 31-year-old resident of Gemena, the main city of South Ubangi province, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I’m married and mother of five children. My baby, Gloire à Dieu (Glory to God, in English) was born through a World Vision project. 

“I did not experience any problems with my first four pregnancies. However, two of my last pregnancies ended in miscarriage. As is usual practice, women are supposed to attend antenatal sessions when they are expecting a baby. During my last two pregnancies, however, I was not visiting the health center as I could not afford to pay for the consultation fees. It saddens me to think that antenatal care might have spared me the misfortune of loosing my babies. 

“Following these miscarriages, I was told that the loss of two pregnancies was caused by a traditional disease. As a result, I was given traditional medicine, which proved to be inefficient. One day, as I was sitting on the veranda of my house, I saw the community volunteer walking towards the house yard. When he entered, he said to me, ‘I am identifying all pregnant women in our community to provide them with health counseling.’

“This was big news for me. I thought the volunteer was a messenger God had sent to me. In our meetings with the community volunteer, my husband and I were educated on the need for pregnant women to visit the health center for HIV/AIDS screening, immunizations against diseases, getting ready for delivery and to learn the best practices to use when caring for the baby after they are born. 

“The community volunteer’s visits and counseling helped incentivize my husband and I to visit the health center.  There, I was received and seen by a nurse who told me that the baby was in an abnormal position. Immediately after that, I was referred to a doctor who confirmed that I had to undergo a caesarian section, which I did. 

“Now, I am wild with joy to have this pretty baby after my two miscarriages. I would not have had this baby if I had not accepted the community volunteer’s technical assistance and counseling about attending antenatal care. Today, my baby is four months old. We named her ‘Gloire à Dieu’. I would like to thank World Vision for everything it is doing for our community. Without their support and the community volunteers, many community women, including myself, would not have cared for our pregnancies from start to delivery.”

«The program initiated a new project model known as Timed Targeted Counseling (TTC) which is an approach involving   the provision of child and maternal health interventions to households through the home-based timed and targeted visits conducted by community volunteers. In this regard, 128 health providers and community health workers received education. 43.110 women at reproductive age, 5.390 pregnant women   and 16.587 under 2 children were identified, 3460 home-based visits   were conducted for 1148 pregnant women and   388 under 2 children », Jonas Kinzomba, the mother and child survival development facilitator explained.

«These various outcomes have improved access of the most vulnerable mothers and children to health services through activities carried out by community health workers», he stated.

To learn more about additional work World Vision is doing to improve the health and nutritional conditions of children in the Demoncratic Republic of Congo, click here