Women's Healthcare Needs

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To learn more about our curriculum, click here.  To learn more about why we work in Sierra Leone and why we work with Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs), click here.  We discuss more about our philosophy and how it works on this page.  

MOMS works to meet the women's needs for health education and care.  We teach selected women to educate, provide care for, and advocate for the women and girls of their communities.

The state of women's and children's health says a lot about the ideals of a country.  In some areas, women have little access to health care.  This lack comes from attitudes or poverty or ignorance - or from a comination of all these factors.  Because MOMS' focus is on women who have the fewest choices and resources, we look toward areas where wars and poverty create situations where women's maternal mortality rates are hgih.  

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In the top picture, you see Chris McManus (MOMS President) with her little
namesake, Christie Sallay.  In the bottom picture you see Trish Ross's (MOMS Education Director) namesake, Patricia Jebbeh.  These two babies were born
in June 2007.  Baby Christie Sallay died before she reached the age of two.  
So far, Patricia Jebbeh has overcome parasites,  malaria, and a number of colds.  
These families are relatively well-to-do.  Death visits all families too often.  

Millennium Development Goals

The United Nations worked with representatives around the world to create the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). If all countries cooperate to meet these goals, our world would be a healthy place for everyone.

Goal 1:   Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger
Goal 2:   Achieve universal primary education
Goal 3:   Promote gender equality and empower women
Goal 4:   Reduce child mortality rates
Goal 5:   Improve maternal health
Goal 6:   Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other diseases
Goal 7:   Ensure environmental sustainability
Goal 8:   Develop a global partnership for development

MOMS’ work focuses on MDGs 4 and 5.

Goal 4:  Reduce child mortality rates.

Target 4A:  Reduce by two-thirds, between 1990 and 2015, the under-five mortality rate.

Goal 5:   Improve maternal health.

Target 5A:  Reduce by three-quarters, between 1990 and 2015, the maternal mortality ratio.

Target 5B:  Achieve, by 2015, universal access to reproductive health.

The following chart shows some key statistics about maternal health, taken from the 2008 report on the Millennium Development Goals. Here is the web site: Trends in Maternal Mortality.  

  Country          MMR as a %   (Estimated range)     Total # of deaths     Lifetime risk of maternal death

   UK                     .012              (.011 - .014)                  90                              1:4700

   US                     .024              (.02 - .027)                1000                              1:2100

   Haiti                   .3                  (.18 - .52)                    820                              1:93

   Sierra Leone       .97                (.53 - 1.8)                  2200                              1:21

The maternal mortality ratio (MMR) is the number of maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.  This can also be stated as a percentage. An MMR of 24 means that 24 women died for every 100,000 live births; the percentage is .024%. Because the reliability of these statistics varies, included is the estimated range for the MMR.  Also included is the number of deaths per year, and a woman’s lifetime risk of maternal death.

Health care providers

Because one target in MDG 5 is for women to have access to reproductive health care, the UN, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other agencies have debated standards for care givers. This is a link to WHO documentation of what birth attendants should know and be able to do.  

Our model and curriculum draw from these guidelines.  MOMS trains traditional birth attendants (TBAs) to provide sound, healthy, evidence-based care, as community health workers (CHW).  We emphasize nutrition, sanitation, family planning, and breastfeeding - along with a new emphasis on preventing gender-based violence and teen pregnancy.  

Perhaps more importantly, we teach the TBAs to act as change agents in their communities.  

Our model includes helping our TBAs find ways to support themselves and sustain the changes they make, which contributes to MDG 3:  Promote gender equality and empower women, as well.  

Our work is closely aligned with the MDGs.  And it is effective in improving women's health.

The maternal mortality rates of the women in our villalges have dropped sharply; the village women get prenatal and postnatal care, and well-child care for their babies.  They learn how to space their children, and feed their families well.  Each village in our areas has at least one resident TBA who goes with pregnant women to the nearest clinic for care.

    All content (C) 2012 Midwives on Missions of Service