HealthProm has been working to promote health and reduce maternal and under-5 mortality in mountain villages of Balkh Province since 2008. We do this through a holistic approach that improves access to health care, clean water and better nutrition.
Our Afghan partner NGO, HADSO, works through village safe motherhood groups and men’s groups to raise awareness of the specific risks of pregnancy and childbirth. It provides antenatal care and birth planning from visiting midwives, and emergency transport for women in labour to health centres. It also works to achieve longer-term gains in health by providing health education for girls and boys in schools.
Malnutrition and unclean water are major causes of child deaths in Afghanistan. HADSO enables families to grow better food for their children by working with villagers to plant new vegetable gardens and fruit trees, and channeling water to keep them sustainable. Together with village men, they have also built crop stores so they are able to hold their crops until prices rise. The sale of crops enables them to pay an increasing share of the cost of emergency transport for women in labour to health centres, contributing to the sustainable impact of this work.
The project has reduced maternal mortality to 11.3% of the national figure, and additional measures such as training community health workers to provide basic primary healthcare and administer simple interventions such as oral rehydration salts, has reduced child deaths even more.
An independent technical reviewer for DFID’s UK Aid Direct recently wrote that HealthProm had successfully implemented its last DFID grant in Afghanistan:
…in such a manner that it has become an exemplar for many other organisations and received global attention.
The next challenge is to take this successful model to another district of Balkh province and achieve similar results at greater scale.
Local Partners: HADSO, Bakhtar Development Network, Provincial Directorate of Public Health