Maternal, Neonatal & Child Health
Project HOPE trains and empowers local health care workers to improve maternal, neonatal, and child health.
Saving the Lives of Women and Babies
Despite incredible gains in global health care, thousands of women and infants die from preventable causes every day. If current trends hold, 60 million children will die in the next decade before their fifth birthday — almost all of them in developing countries. That is unacceptably high.
We know the causes, and we have the solutions. Nearly all of these deaths are preventable.
Project HOPE has worked to save the lives of women and babies around the world since 1985. Our strategic priority is to achieve a global community where no woman or newborn risks dying from preventable causes. That’s why we’re working every day to improve access to quality care, build the skills of health care workers, and expand community support in places where mothers and infants need it most.
Whether training midwives in Indonesia, equipping hospitals in the Dominican Republic, or launching mother care groups in Sierra Leone, Project HOPE plays a vital role in the global mission to give all mothers and babies a healthy future.
How We Provide HOPE
Project HOPE provides vital health care services for women and babies in more than 28 countries. We are a founding member of the CORE Group, and our current MNCH programs prioritize the achievement of the World Health Organization’s Every Newborn Action Plan.
Our approach focuses on helping women and infants improve their access to:
- Routine, essential care before, during, and after childbirth.
We support health care workers and facilities with skills and tools throughout the birth process. The interventions we promote include monitoring and management of labor, active management of the third stage of labor, hygienic cord care, and vaccinations within one hour of birth. We also promote vital practices like routine newborn screenings, skin-to-skin contact, and exclusive breastfeeding.
- Emergency obstetric and newborn care.
Around the world, we help ensure that skilled birth attendants have the capabilities they need to provide care. That’s why we promote deliveries by skilled birth attendants, safe blood transfusions, corticosteroids for preterm labor, antibiotics to treat infection and sepsis, resuscitation training for babies with asphyxia, Kangaroo Mother Care, and the safe administration of oxygen and ventilation.
- Care for sick and pre-term babies.
In Sierra Leone and the Dominican Republic, Project HOPE established a mentoring program at the district and pediatric hospital focusing on high risk/sick newborns. The program includes essential and emergency care, resuscitation, management of pre-term and sick babies, prevention of infection, and safe use of equipment. We’re also working with countries and partners to establish advanced-level education programs for advanced neonatal nurse programs for the optimal care of sick newborns.
- Integrated HIV/AIDS and MNCH services.
HIV-positive pregnant women are eight times more likely to die during pregnancy, delivery, and the postnatal period than HIV-negative women. Our comprehensive approach reduces the impact of HIV/AIDS on maternal mortality through testing, counseling, and Preventing Mother to Child Transmission programs for pregnant women with HIV/AIDS.
Equipping the Next Generation of Neonatal Nurses
Sustainable gains in neonatal health depend on a well-trained neonatal workforce. In Malawi and Sierra Leone, Project HOPE is working to develop neonatal nursing specialty programs in order to ensure a sustainable cadre of expert nurses capable of providing state-of-the-art advanced nursing care for newborns.
Project HOPE is working with the Council of International Neonatal Nurses, nursing school and university partners, and expert neonatal nurse volunteers to help the governments of Sierra Leone and Malawi establish their first Neonatal Nursing Bachelor degree programs. Project HOPE is directly partnering with a health institute in each country and is currently assisting National Development Committees to develop curriculums and prepare faculty to teach neonatal nursing in the upcoming year.
Where We Work
Our programs are changing the lives of women and babies around the world. We currently have programming in China, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Indonesia, and Sierra Leone.
Historically, we have had Maternal, Neonatal, and Child Health programs in Malawi, the Philippines, Hungary, Romania, Nepal, Honduras, Nicaragua, Belize, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Peru, Haiti, Northern Thailand, and Brazil.
Since the Ebola outbreak, Project HOPE has been working with the government of Sierra Leone to identify and address gaps in maternal and newborn care facilities in Freetown and Bo Districts. To date, we have trained more than 1,500 health care workers in essential newborn care that includes Kangaroo Mother Care and care measures for small and sick babies.
We’ve helped train over 1,300 hospital staff in the Dominican Republic and have assigned over a dozen new nurses to NICU units throughout the country. We’re also helping equip hospitals with radiant warmers, vital sign monitors and incubators, and are supporting the Ministry of Health in establishing a post-graduate education program to train nurses in obstetrics and neonatal care. As a key partner in newborn health programs, we have celebrated many successes. Compared to the same period in 2018, the Dominican Republic experienced a 29% decline in the neonatal mortality rate in 2019 — the greatest reduction in recent years.
In Indonesia, we are training midwives and health workers to be better positioned to manage complications at childbirth. Since 2016, this training has made the difference between life and death for more than 85,000 mothers and 11,000 newborns.
We’re providing hands-on training for health extension workers and health facility staff in areas of Ethiopia that have the highest levels of maternal and neonatal mortality. We’re also supporting regional vaccination efforts, surveilling and responding to polio cases, and are strengthening hospitals’ Emergency obstetric and neonatal care centers.
We’ve partnered with numerous national governments, child health specialists, and the private sector to create children’s hospitals in China, Poland, Iraq, and South Africa. In addition to equipment and supplies, Project HOPE sends highly qualified volunteers in pediatric medicine, nursing, and other specialty areas to train local health care workers.
Get The Facts
Despite great progress in reducing maternal mortality rates, the number of women who die due to complications from pregnancy and labor is far too high.
More than 800 women die every day from causes that are almost entirely preventable.
Babies are most vulnerable in the first 28 hours of life.
Even though great progress has been made to reduce the health complications babies face, 7,000 newborns die every day from causes that are relatively simple to prevent.
Incredible progress has been made to reduce levels of child mortality: since 1990, the global rate of child mortality has been cut by more than half.
Yet despite this progress, 5.4 million children died before their fifth birthday in 2017 — half of them in sub-Saharan Africa. Almost all of these deaths are due to causes that are understandable and preventable.
How you can help
Make a lifesaving gift to support our work now and for the future at projecthope.org/donate.
Are you a health-care or other professional who would like to learn more about volunteering abroad with Project HOPE? Learn more about our volunteer program and join our volunteer roster.
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