Every 2 hours a Somali woman dies from pregnancy complications. Our programming in Somalia provides primary health services, including consultations, EPI, ANC and facility-based deliveries at 4 clinics in IDP camps in Mogadishu. We aimed to increase midwife-assisted deliveries at these clinics. We trained 4 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) from each clinic to visit expectant mothers, and encourage them to deliver at the clinic with a midwife and receive pre- and postnatal care.
Save the Children provided 520 new mothers with newborn kits for their babies and trained 16 community-based traditional birth attendants
Estimated girls & women affected
Multiplied the number of women who received newborn kits by six and then subtracted 1080 (the number of mothers and newborns that were directly affected). On average, there are six people in a household in this region. Receipt of the newborn kits not only had a direct positive impact on the new mother and newborn child, but it also had a indirect impact on the woman's other family members. The knowledge that a mother gained from visiting clinics was likely passed on to her family members. In addition, a healthy mother and baby will positively impact the rest of the family.
Estimated community members affected
In Somalia, UN data shows that 10% of children die before age 1, the under-5 mortality rate is 108 per 1,000, and women face high levels of morbidity and mortality. Most deaths are due to preventable diseases and a lack of basic health services. While early detection of complications in pregnancy and access to health services can mitigate the risks, facility-based delivery in Somalia is rare. Every 2 hours a Somali woman dies from pregnancy complications. Our programming in Somalia provides primary health services, including consultations, EPI, ANC and facility-based deliveries at 4 clinics in IDP camps in Mogadishu. There, every 6 months, 26,550 consultations occur and 5,105 mothers receive prenatal care. We aimed to increase midwife-assisted deliveries at these clinics. We trained 4 traditional birth attendants (TBAs) from each clinic to visit expectant mothers, and encourage them to deliver at the clinic with a midwife and receive pre- and postnatal care. They also promoted immunizations and breastfeeding. When home deliveries occurred, TBAs would refer mothers to the clinic for checkups, treatment of complications, and newborn immunizations. Newborn kits (baby supplies) and other incentives were used to encourage the use of the clinic’s services. These were given to 520 mothers after delivery. The project saw an increase in the number of midwife-attended, facility-based deliveries and more mothers seeking immunization for their children under 5.
Maryan’s Story: “About 18 months ago we fled to Maslah because of a clan conflict and lack of food. When I became pregnant, the TBA, Muslimo Aadan Hassan, referred me to Sigale clinic where I could receive treatment, immunization and support in the safe delivery of my baby. She told me that my child would receive immunization, baby gifts and a mosquito net. Here I am now with my baby girl who I safely delivered at the health center. They gave me gifts for the baby and me. Thank you.”
Risks and challenges
There are more mothers who are still in need of our support. Many of these mothers have deep-rooted cultural beliefs and practices that discourage them from seeking timely health interventions. These barriers can only be overcome through community sensitization and information sharing using existing community structures and resources such as TBAs, community health volunteers and community health promoters.
What we’ve learned
Thanks to the provision of the Newborn Kits purchased through the generosity of the Catapult.org donors, there was an increase in the number of mothers coming to the health centers to deliver their babies with skilled/qualified birth attendants. We will continue to develop our non-monetary strategies to encourage mothers to access health services. The kits consisted of the following items: Diapers, rash cream, baby oil, shampoo, soap & baby powder, 2 sets of baby clothes, 2 baby shawls/sheets, 2 blankets, 2 pairs of shoes, 2 baby towels and a washing basin.
We need to replenish our stock of newborn kits and continue their distribution to encourage mothers to access health services. This promotes safe deliveries at health centers and an increase in the immunization of children. We will continue to support and advocate for access to quality health services for mothers, from early pregnancy until delivery, and for children under 5.
There were no major variations from what was projected.
Amount spent so far
Newborn care kits
Maryan delivered her baby at Maslah health center – one of the health centers run by our Local Partner in Mogadishu - Center for Peace & Democracy (CPD). Maryan is one of the mothers who benefitted from the project, she received a newborn and mother care kit and also a treated mosquito net. She also learned about caring for her new baby, immunization and the importance of exclusive breastfeeding in the first six months.
The project supported women from Sigale A, Sigale B, Darwish and Maslah IDP camps in Mogadishu. Mothers from these IDP camps are from poor households with limited finances to care for their families. Most of these families fled to Mogadishu from other parts of Somalia due to the military offensive, drought and clan conflict.
Working together for the health of newborns
First, we’re happy to share with you an update on the project’s location. Save the Children’s humanitarian response team has determined that the need for the care packages is greatest in Mogadishu, Somalia. Somalia is in a state of prolonged and chronic humanitarian crisis. An estimated 70,000 children per year die before their fifth birthday, and 30% of women of reproductive age die due to pregnancy-related causes.
We will distribute lifesaving newborn kits for babies born to drought and conflict-affected mothers in Sigaale, Darwish, and Masalah displacement camps located in Mogadishu. Contents of the kits include baby blankets, baby powder, wool hats, soap, diapers, and much more. The newborn kits will be given to all delivering mothers at health facilities in these areas. They'll help promote newborn care immediately after birth to prevent infection, and more pregnant women may choose the safer delivery option of facility-based care, knowing that a newborn kit will be provided to them.
Risks and challenges
Security issues are the greatest risks and challenges in working in displacement camps. Mogadishu is still experiencing a certain level of insecurity as militants are capable of infiltrating the camps. This would result in program suspension. However, the project will be executed in coordination with highly experienced national staff and Save the Children’s local partner, which has a permanent presence in the camps. Distribution will be scheduled in such a way that beneficiaries will be made aware of the process of distribution (for example, the location and timetables) well ahead of time to avoid unnecessary crowds.
“This is an important project because it helps to protect children from infection and supports the mothers who cannot afford to buy baby supplies. Economic empowerment and additional promotion of facility-based delivery lead to a reduction in maternal mortality rates.” — Abdi Mohamed, Save the Children Health Technical Specialist
The next step will be the actual distribution of the newborn kits. Our Somalia Country Office will place a purchase order request through our logistics team. Then, the kits will be distributed through the health centers, where Save the Children carries out general consultations, preventive vaccinations, pre-natal care, and deliveries by skilled birth attendants.
After a disaster or displacement, moms need help to keep their newborns warm and clean.
Why we care: Children are always the most vulnerable in any emergency.
How we are solving it: Save the Children has created a care package for newborns, which includes diapers, diaper rash cream, baby shampoo, and other essentials to distribute to mothers after an emergency.
We work with local partners to distribute newborn care packages immediately after a crisis in places like Syria and the Philippines. Depending on the location of the crisis, access to those impacted and the need to identify mothers with newborns, packages can be delivered within several days to a week. A typical newborn care package includes:
|• 4 bottles of baby shampoo|| • 35 plastic bags to dispose of soiled |
|• 4 bottles of baby wash|
|• 4 bottles of baby lotion||• 2 soft clean blankets|
|• 4 tubes of diaper rash cream||• 2 wraps|
|• 2 soft bath towels||• 2 caps|
|• 175 disposable baby wipes||• 2 pairs of booties|
|• 70 diapers||• 2 hooded pullovers|
While some items may last a month, the newborn clothing and blankets will last much longer. These items mean so much to a mother and child – but are frequently unavailable where a disaster has struck or families are in shelters.
Each year, millions of children and families worldwide lose everything they own in disasters and conflicts or take refuge in unsanitary and overcrowded shelters and camps. Our goal is to have 550 packages ready to distribute. We will store them with other relief supplies in secure locations in areas of the world prone to emergencies. By assembling these care packages in advance we save time, save money, and avoid having to find items that may be in short supply after a crisis.
Distributing newborn care packages is just one facet of our global humanitarian relief, which Save the Children has done nonstop since our founding in 1919 to aid children affected by World War I.