Maternal, Newborn, & Child Health

Issues

The major causes of poor health and premature death among women and children in the developing world are not rare, tropical diseases but preventable and treatable common illnesses such as pneumonia, diarrhea and measles. Lack of access to sanitation and hygiene coupled with poor nutrition contributes to more than 75 percent of deaths of children under the age of 5 in the developing world. The lifetime risk of maternal death is also disturbingly high particularly in sub-Saharan Africa where the average woman has a 1-in-22 chance of dying due to labor complications including, hemorrhaging and poor access to appropriately trained attendants. Unmet demand for family planning is high among rural populations which make birth spacing difficult and maternal/infant mortality rates high. Despite the fact that most maternal and child deaths could be avoided, developing countries have not made significant progress in the last decade to achieving the 2015 Millennium Development Goals.


MCD International's Approach

Over the last 30 years, MCD International has responded to the need for maternal and child health and family planning services. Our approach to improving these services includes information dissemination through community organizations, training of the local health system staff, support for community-based distributors of essential supplies, and sustainable methods of financing to ensure that systems created during each project will be available once the project ends. Specifically, MCD International has facilitated the formation of community health committees and engaged local organizations to deliver essential maternal and child health and family planning messages to their communities. We have also promoted the introduction of community case management strategies and supported community-based distributors to ensure the availability of anti-malarial drugs, contraceptives, and water purification tablets. In addition, MCD International developed a community case management training manual for community health workers in Madagascar. To address issues of sustainability, we have developed innovative community-based financing schemes to help remove financial barriers to health care access and promote the financial sustainability of maternal and child health and family planning interventions.