In 2008, Curamericas Global was awarded a USAID Child Survival Grant to reduce the rates of infant, child, and maternal mortality in an isolated area of north-central Liberia called Nimba County. Curamericas Global partners with Ganta United Methodist Hospital, a Liberian nonprofit that provides services to approximately 125,000 Liberians. This joint project is known as the Nehnwaa Child Survival Project. Nehnwaa is a term in the indigenous language of the region (Mano), which means “protecting children.”
Since 2008, child mortality has been reduced by 63%! In 2015, the Nehnwaa staff visited 168 communities where they reached hundreds of people on issues of family planning, Ebola awareness, and maternal health. Nehnwaa staff referred 483 pregnant women and children to health facilities. They also reached 343 people with family planning services and 279 individuals with personal counseling. Two financial life saving clubs were established in the communities. Financial life saving clubs are community insurance programs that provide transportation to a health facility for complications during childbirth. Overall, the Nehnwaa project has been making strides in providing comprehensive and thorough community care and support.
Curamericas Global’s Strategy
Curamericas Global implements community-based programs to reduce infant, child and maternal mortality. This is achieved by expanding evidence-based interventions and services that provide maternal and newborn care, immunizations, the management of childhood illness, HIV treatment and prevention, water and sanitation, and Ebola awareness interventions.
The Nehnwaa Project uses Curamericas’ unique Community-Based, Impact-Oriented (CBIO) approach, which has been key to its success. This method ensures that every person in the program area is reached with health education and services and that the project addresses the leading causes of death specific to the area.
The Nehnwaa Project strategies were designed to:
- Increase access to health services and strengthen links with health facilities;
- Increase equity in access to health services;
- Increase the demand for health services;
- Integrate family planning practices and services.
The 2014 Ebola epidemic was the largest in history and had devastating effects on several countries in West Africa and other regions. Liberia was the worst hit, with 9,602 cases of Ebola and over 4,000 deaths. Because of Curamericas’ on-going relationship with the communities, Ebola awareness messages spread quickly and effectively. Since the epidemic in 2014, Curamericas Global has continued work to ensure that communities in Liberia can build lasting resiliency against Ebola outbreaks.
In 2015, Curamericas Global:
- Successfully reached 168 communities and held 834 Ebola awareness sessions.
- Reached 34,479 people through the Ebola awareness sessions.
- Had zero confirmed cases of Ebola in 11 partner communities.
The project in Nimba County is located in one of the most isolated areas of Liberia. Nimba County was the epicenter of a devastating 14-year nationwide civil war, which ended only a decade ago. In the late 1980’s, Nimba County was affected by atrocious and indiscriminate killings. Thousands of civilians fled into Cote d’Ivoire and Guinea to escape the violence. During this time much of the country’s infrastructure was destroyed and today the roads remain in horrendous condition.
Health Statistics for Liberia
- The lifetime risk of maternal death is 1 in 24.
- 84% of the population lives on less than US $1 per day.
- More than 40% of chidren suffer from stunting due to malnutrition.
The five-year project entered the sustainability phase in February 2014. Interventions continue to be implemented by the local community health workers who have been working with Curamericas since the onset of the project. Curamericas Global continues to partner with Ganta United Methodist Hospital and the UMC General Board of Global Ministries to strengthen the community-based primary health care program in Nimba County.
For more information about our work in Liberia, please contact us toll-free at (877)510-4787 or email our office at [email protected].