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BRAC Implements USD $300,000 Manoshi Slums Project

By Mustapha Sesay

As a way of providing a friendly environment for pregnant women, lactating mothers and Under Five Children, BRAC on Tuesday 1st September 2015, handed over a newly refurbished Iscon Health Centre at Williams Street Portee to community residents.

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BRAC Regional Health Coordinator, Mr. Bazlur Rashid, expressed delight over the refurbishment of the Health Centre as the goal of the programme is to decrease illness and death of mothers, newborns and children in urban slums of Freetown in Sierra Leone, through ensuring a comprehensive preventive, promotive and curative care starting from home to facility.

With support from UKAID and UNICEF, BRAC is implementing various programs in the communities ranging from Micro finance, health, advocacy, awareness raising and a host of others.

Mr. Bazlur Rashid commended the District Health Medical Team for the cordial relationship in working towards improving the provision of service delivery at the community

Dr. Regena Juliana Kain, Acting Programme Manager Health BRAC, noted that in 2007, Manoshi BRAC’s urban maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH), was launched in urban slums of Bangladesh and objective of the program is to build awareness on MNCH practices, and improve access to MNCH care through offering a comprehensive package of services to mothers, newborns and children. Currently the programme is serving 7 million slum populations in 9 cities across Bangladesh. In November 2013, Manoshi received GSK and Save the Children Healthcare Innovation Award for its contribution in improving lives of women and children living in slums of Bangladesh. The award money of USD $300,000 will be used for replicating Manoshi in slums of Freetown, Sierra Leone where BRAC is running its other development programs including health.

 

The goal of the programme is to decrease illness and death of mothers, newborns and children in urban slum of Freetown in Sierra Leone, through ensuring a comprehensive preventive, promotive and curative care starting from home to facility.

The specific objectives of the program includes

Increasing knowledge and service utilization of reproductive, maternal, neonatal and Child health;

Improving provision of service delivery at the community; establish efficient referral linkage,

strengthening community support network to support communities and individual households to sustain the services.

Primary it targets adolescent girls, women of reproductive age (15-49), pregnant and lactating mothers, newborns and under-five children.

Secondary it also targets Community health workers, BRAC staff, public and private health care providers, community people, local government bodies, community leaders, NGOs and Faith Based Organizations (FBOs) and national and international agencies concerned.

She noted the following components: advocacy and Community empowerment. Ensuring clean and safe delivery and using mobile phone for Health care service delivery and Emergency referral.

 

The programme is being implemented in Portee slum in Freetown, Sierra Leone. The slum is located in the East coast of Freetown surrounded by the sea. The main source of earning livelihood for the community is petty trading and fishing. The slum is prone to seasonal flooding and mud slides. There are total 6,049 populations in the slum including 2,593 women and children under-five years of age. The expected rate of pregnancy for the slum is 4.1%. with the key activities;

Developing capacity of the Community Health Workers (CHW).: Strengthening family planning services. Early Pregnancy Identification..Antenatal care. Ensuring safe delivery center:. Delivery notification & Referral linkage. Post-natal care for mothers and neonates. Essential Newborn Care (ENC).Under-five child health care and Reproductive care services through mobile clinics

Some of the success stories are ; it created health awareness among women and community people and most of the planned activities were carried out

Some of the challenges were, it must be noted that with Outbreak of Ebola, it prolonged implementation project, the Communities negative ideology

With this it was recommended that the DHMT support family planning at Iscon Health facility for women and support Iscon with a user friendly environment for teenage girls.

Several speakers made meaningful contributions as it was climaxed with the cutting of the tape to the building.

 

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