03 Nov 2014 Field Note: Mother And Child Week
October 27th was the first day of the Mother and Child Week, when all health centers in Madagascar distribute vitamin A and Albendazol (for deworming) to all children under 5. They also catch up on vaccinations that have been missed for children under 2 in line with the national protocol. It’s a really big event where all the community health workers and any other partners get involved to provide services not only at the level of the CSBs but also in remote villages. PIVOT’s Referral and Health Center Teams participated with some of our staff walking over 6 hours to vaccinate any children they found who hadn’t yet completed their full courses.
Having the regional launch of Mother and Child Week in Ranomafana was a big honor for Pivot and the district health team. It was especially important because it was also the launch of a Campaign for reducing maternal mortality (CARMMA) to which PIVOT contributed the renovation of the maternity ward at the Ranomafana health centre so women feel they can come to a clean, tiled, comfortable and jolly place to bring life into the world. Indeed, during the event we also cut the ribbon, officially inaugurating the maternity ward, all pink as the MoH midwife wanted!
The regional head for health came from Manakar, 4 hours from here and the parliament member for Ifanadiana District came from Tana specifically for the event. There was local music and dancing to celebrate mothers and children and encourage women to give birth at the “hospital” as they call all health structures. The kids answered questions about health and when they got it right (with a bit of help occasionally), they got a pencil case and note book. All of Ranomafana was out as we started the day with a “carnival”, a procession through town of children from various schools and women from different organisations such as the police, the electricity company and, of course, our PIVOT team, the lot headed by an ambulance blaring out music and encouraging slogans and our 8 motorbikes. All in all the event was a success and we hope the results for vaccination from the mother and child week will be just as exciting!