When Sharda went into labor at home, her family sought help from the village midwife for help. However, Sharda gave birth before the midwife arrived. The baby didn’t cry or breathe. Fortunately Sunari, a female community health volunteer, who was present during the birth immediately put her CB-NCP training to use and started rubbing the baby’s back and then used the dee-lee suction to initiate breathing. When the baby didn’t respond, she used the bag and mask to resuscitate the baby. To everyone’s relief, the baby started crying. Health workers and female community health volunteer like Sunari are trained in community based newborn care that arms them with skills to save newborn babies.
Save the Children’s Health and Nutrition program focuses on increasing mothers’, newborns’, children’s and adolescent’s access to health care services. We work closely with the Government’s Ministry of Health and Population’s Department of Health Services to ensure that every child can beat preventable and treatable illnesses and they get nutrition to survive and grow. We provide services for mothers, newborns and children through community and health facilities; working to improve quality and access through programming and advocacy. Engaging with local community, we work to create demand for care through community mobilization using existing community based structure.
Maternal and Newborn Health
Maternal and newborn health, a core area of work for Save the Children, trains frontline health workers including female community health volunteers, equipping them with skills to save mothers and babies. The trainings include midwifery skills, community-based newborn care and infant and young child nutrition.
Through our Saving Newborn Lives program, Save the Children played a significant role in formulating the Government’s National Neonatal Health Strategy in 2004. We also supported the government to develop a package for newborn care, which was first piloted by Save the Children in Bardiya. Led by the government and supported by partners, the Community based Newborn Care Program (CB-NCP), has reached 39 districts with plans for nationwide coverage.
Save the Children supports the government to improve the country’s Integrated Management of Child Illness. This has resulted in an increase in coverage of pneumonia and diarrhea care amongst children under the age of five, particularly in under-served/low-coverage population.
Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health
The Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health Program seeks to improve the sexual and reproductive health behavior among adolescents. Besides promoting the use of family planning services, Save the Children also focuses on building adolescent friendly health services. It also keeps youth aware of services available through education, information materials, behavioral change programs and counseling.
As malnutrition is the leading underlying cause of children’s death in Nepal, Save the Children also prioritizes maternal and child nutrition. We believe that the first 1,000 days – from the point of conception till the child’s second birthday is a crucial period for growth and development. Children who suffer from stunting before the age of two can suffer irreparable consequences to their physical and mental development.
Our nutrition program combines nutrition and livelihood activities to reduce child hunger and malnutrition. Targeting highly food insecure households, it aims to increase local food production and household income, diversifying daily food intake and changing nutritional behavior of mothers and children. We also support the government to scale up Infant Young Child Feeding Counseling Programs (IYCF) and community-based growth monitoring.
In schools, we train teachers and health workers on basic school health and nutrition, and screen school children for hearing, vision and dental health, supporting further treatment if necessary. We ensure that students are given health education sessions and have access to first aid, toilets, hand washing and drinking water facilities.
Health system strengthening
We are working on putting a spotlight on investing in human resources for health services in Nepal, through research and lobbying for policy changes for children.