Every year, 4,300 mothers die due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth, 20,000 babies are stillborn and another 23,000 die in their first month of life. In total, 75,000 children do not make it to their fifth birthday.1
Despite conducive policies and high coverage of antenatal care and other services, there is need for more maternal, neonatal and child healthcare programmes to reduce the loss of lives.
Humana People to People South Africa will use the HOPE Humana strategy with the aim of improving the situation of reducing maternal health and improving the health of children under the age of 3 in the Zululand District of KwaZulu-Natal Province through carrying out health interventions which focus on reaching community members and key service providers.
Through the funding initiative from Nelson Mandela Children's Fund, Humana People to People South Africa will carry out a process of community participation, capacity building of Community Care Workers (or home-based caregivers), strengthening of Clinic Committees on the topic of mother and child health and enhancing capacity on child health among community members.
The project will strengthen Clinic Committees as a starting point. These Clinic Committees are essential structures within Primary Health Care as they create an "avenue for communities to give input and feedback into the planning, delivery and organization of health services and to play an oversight role in the development and implementation of health policies and provision of equitable health services".
Research conducted in KwaZulu-Natal, Eastern Cape and Free State indicated that there are no active clinic committees in 4 of the 6 facilities that were assessed, despite the fact that the establishment of Clinic Committees and Community Health Centre Committees is provided for in Section 42 of the National Health Act (No. 61 of 2003). Of the Committees that existed, less than 30% reported having received any training targeting them as clinic committee members. All clinic committee members indicated that training was required.2
The rapid situational analysis also indicate that the role and function of the Clinic Committee is not well understood or clear for community members, and consequently it is not viewed as being 'effective'.
The awareness campaigns by the HOPE Humana Program will be carried out alongside the Community Health Workers and the Clinic Committee members, in collaboration with members of the community elected during the dialogue process. These campaigns will include home-visits or door-to-door campaigns, as well as village health talks which will seek to increase knowledge of mother and child health by community members while at the same time improving the process by which CHW and Clinic Committee members carry this out.
Awareness campaigns will be conducted concurrently with outreach service provision using mobile clinics, to children and their mothers. Children will be immunised as well as checked on other opportunistic infections such as malnutrition, malaria and diarrhoea.