Casa Materna Project Hit Several Milestones to end 2017
Posted: January 15, 2018
Our Casa Materna project in Guatemala met some powerful milestones to close out the 2017. This project, which has been generously supported by Ronald McDonald House Charities for the past six years, has seen growth not only in the number of established Casa Maternas but also in an increase of health programming and education in our already established partner communities.
Expansion of health programming in schools
Over the past year, the Casas Maternas have expanded their school health outreach initiatives and are currently reaching around 1,700 children and adolescents every month through health programming. Through this work, we are reaching more than double the number of students than in 2016!
Boys and girls across the project area are reached in relatively equal numbers and learn about the many facets of health and wellbeing including mental health, nutrition, personal hygiene, and sex education. This program empowers youth with the knowledge and capability to lead healthy lives and to bring this knowledge home to their families.
This is not only directly impacting the children but also strengthening relationships between the community and the Casa Materna, building program sustainability. The Casa Maternas have completed a formal lesson manual, which will be used as a resource for the new Casa Maternas in San Marcos as well as with other programs in Guatemala and around the world.
Baseline survey completed in new partner communities
Curamericas Guatemala worked in conjunction with municipal and departmental governments of San Marcos to collect baseline data on communities that will be reached by the new Casas Maternas in Pueblo Nuevo (San Marcos). Not only is this the first time that baseline data has been collected in the area, but it also marks a substantial step for the San Marcos Ministry of Health who learned how to complete a baseline survey as part of the process. Women who had given birth in the last year were interviewed.
Questions asked during the survey not only detail the education of the mother but also detail prenatal care and location of last delivery. The survey noted whether or not newborns received all five elements of essential newborn care:
- immediate thermal protection
- cord care
- immediate breastfeeding
- Hep B and BCG vaccine, a vaccine primarily used against tuberculosis.
In our current partner communities, we also monitor these elements. As of October, we have begun tracking all five elements of essential newborn care as opposed to the three aspects we were previously tracking.
Preliminary results for Pueblo Nuevo, the location of the new Casa Materna, include statistics that showed that 0% of newborns received all five elements of essential newborn care, 3% of mothers received four or more prenatal checkups by a health professional during their last pregnancy, and 10% of mothers had their last delivery in a health facility.
For comparison, in our current partner communities 71% of newborns in our current partner communities received three aspects of essential newborn care, 76% of mothers received four or more prenatal checkups by a health professional during their last pregnancy, and 79% of newborns had their last delivery in a health facility.
Curamericas Guatemala has intentionally focused on building strong relationships at the municipal and local levels as a result of the considerable corruption and turnover at the governmental national and departmental levels. Although we have formed a working relationship with the Ministry of Health in the Department of San Marcos, we anticipate challenges on the department and higher-level ministry representative level in the future.
Overall, many milestones have marked this eventful quarter. We are excited to continue on this path and continue the growth we are seeing in our partner communities!
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