Indonesia’s rates of maternal and newborn deaths are alarmingly high - among the highest in Asia. More than 17,000 women die every year due to pregnancy-related causes, and there are more than 90,000 deaths of newborns in Indonesia. Project HOPE has been implementing the Saving Lives at Birth project in Serang, a part of Banten Province, Indonesia, since 2012 with excellent results. For example, exclusive breastfeeding from 0-6 months among mothers in this province increased from 28 percent to 58 percent since the start of the project. Due to this success and other successes, Saving Lives at Birth has been renewed for three more years and is expanding to reach more women and children in need. Here is just one example of how this program is saving so many lives.
My name is Mr. Hasan, and I’m a Village Chief in Serang. Project HOPE has trained the Community Health Volunteers, who are appointed by Village Chiefs, to improve their knowledge of maternal health and encourage more pregnant women to attend the Health Posts for prenatal checkups and health education. In my village we have a Safe Birth Preparedness System so that all pregnant women can quickly reach the health center in an emergency. We have a pooled fund for maternal emergency needs, and we have bought a vehicle for use as an ambulance, walking blood donors (people available to give blood when necessary), and an identification system of all pregnant women.
The program also ensures family knowledge, providing education on the danger signs during pregnancy and delivery, and where to seek help. While this village-level system has been a national policy for several years, in this district most of the villages were not fully implementing it when Project HOPE started working here. I have initiated an association of neighboring village chiefs to form health teams for better coordination and to create further commitments among other chiefs to ensure this system is active for all pregnant women. Making sure there is no delay in reaching care can save women’s lives, because a woman experiencing bleeding can die within just two hours.
The Saving Lives at Birth project is funded by Johnson & Johnson.
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