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How UK aid is helping children in one of the world’s hungriest countries

Supply of two delivery tables in a maternity ward in CAR.
Supply of two delivery tables in a maternity ward in CAR.
News6 June 2022Lucy Bloxham

We are in the middle of our UK aid match programme in the Central African Republic. Here is what we have achieved so far.

In 2020, Concern launched a new programme aiming to transform the lives of those living in one of the world’s poorest countries, the Central African Republic (CAR). Our ultimate objective was to reduce the number of deaths of pregnant women and children under five. We are now halfway through this programme. Let’s take a look at how it is going.

What is the programme?

In 2019, we raised a total of £1.84 million, including £858,961 of matched funding from the UK government as part of its Aid Match scheme. This matched funding went to support an innovative new programme to improve the health and nutrition of pregnant women, new mothers and children under five in CAR, by ensuring they can access the food, water, nutrition and healthcare they need.

Primarily, the programme is aiming to:

  • Combat severe and moderate acute malnutrition in children under five years of age
  • Increase access to antenatal care and the usage of skilled birth attendants for pregnant women
  • Increase access to prevention, care, and treatment of childhood diseases for under-fives
  • Increase levels of breastfeeding.

Ultimately, we are hopeful that this programme will significantly reduce the number of deaths of children under five and pregnant women in the Central African Republic.

What have we achieved so far?

Rehabilitated heath centre in CAR.
Rehabilitated heath centre in CAR.

We are thrilled that so far, 8,305 people have been reached by the various activities. Our overall aim is to reach 12,500 people by the time the project ends this time next year.

Meet the people who involved in the project in CAR

Birth attendant Josephine Yangazi in CAR.
Birth attendant Josephine Yangazi in CAR.

Joséphine is in her 50’s and has been a birth attendant all her life. She has been working with Concern in Bouyembé, CAR, since our arrival in the area in 2020 as part of the UK aid match-funded project.

Josephine has been a birth attendant for many years, but this project has enabled her to receive training and further improve the quality of her advice and work. The project has strengthened her knowledge of the importance of exclusive breastfeeding, prevention of malnutrition and of having a diverse diet, as well as improving her skills in delivering babies and convincing mothers-to-be to come to the maternity ward to give birth.

“The project has brought about a lot of changes because some mothers could not afford to get treatment for themselves or their children. Then, with my advice, these women came here, where they get free care.  For pregnant or breastfeeding women, there are specific medicines that Concern brings, and it's free! They are very happy, and that changed my life”. – Joséphine

Community relay Lucienne in CAR.
Community relay Lucienne in CAR.

Lucienne is a Community Relay at the Pama health facility in CAR, as part of the UK aid match-funded project. Community Relays are elected by other members of the community who receive training and an allowance from Concern to deliver public health messages to pregnant women and childrenfor example on the need for prenatal medical care and a healthy diet, or the importance of breastfeeding.

Lucienne goes from house to house to explain to parents, especially mothers, about the nutritional needs of children. She identifies those who are ill, arranges for them to be taken to the hospital for care, and follows up on their condition until they are better. If she arrives at a house where everyone is apparently well, she still delivers her nutrition awareness speech to make sure everyone has had access to the information. She encourages childbearing women to come to the hospital for check-ups and receive care until delivery.  She also advises new mothers to breastfeed until their children’s second birthday, explaining the benefits it has on the child’s health.

This project marks the beginning of a future in CAR where malnutrition can be prevented. It is only with your support, and the support of the UK government, that we have been able to start paving the way towards this vision.

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