Christian Aid supporters have been given an amazing opportunity to double the value of any donation you make to our Christmas Appeal, boosting a ground-breaking new maternal health scheme in Kenya and Malawi.
The UK Government will match – pound for pound – every donation made to Christian Aid between 7 November and 6 February 2015, up to a total of £5 million. This money will go to maternal and child health projects in Kenya and Malawi.
Less than half of all births in Kenya are attended by a medical professional. Every day, 40 women die in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications. Every year, 14,700 babies die on their first day.
One maternal and child health project in Narok county, south-west Kenya, is reversing this trend on a massive scale. Over four years, three Christian Aid partners are joining forces with the Ministry of Health and local authorities to train more than 1,000 community health workers, renovate and equip maternal health facilities, introduce ambulance services for remote communities and educate communities in antenatal and postnatal health.
After visiting Narok, our church fundraising officer Rebecca Baron said: ‘When I met some of the people who had been helped, I could see the hope in their eyes. Before, losing children was a part of life. Women had no medical support and were often completely unprepared for pregnancy, childbirth and looking after a newborn. Now, women are being educated through mother-to-mother groups – learning how to prepare for childbirth and about the importance of a safe delivery.
‘Through father-to-father groups, men are learning how to better support their wives and their families. Death and disease are declining; education and equality are rising. The communities are talking to their local authorities with confidence, asking for the basic services they need.
‘By involving everyone from the national leaders and local governments through to healthcare professionals, traditional leaders and the communities themselves, this project is changing the landscape of healthcare now and for generations to come.’
With your help we could fund many similar projects and deliver hope to thousands of communities.
‘I thought if I had another baby I would die…’
Fridah Mwari can tell you the difference your support makes.
She lives in a village under the gaze of Mount Kenya, where one of our healthcare projects has been running for three years.
Before the project started, Fridah became pregnant with her first daughter, Amanda. It was a difficult pregnancy: Fridah was very unwell with undiagnosed pre-eclampsia, but didn’t seek help as the local, traditional birth attendant told her that the nurses would beat her. She gave birth at home, with no skilled help. Amanda was underweight and frequently ill.
Fridah said: ‘Nobody told me what would happen or what was going on when I went into labour.’
Fridah’s husband, Gerald, didn’t know what to expect either and so wasn’t able to offer much help.
Her second pregnancy was very different. She joined a mother support group run by our partner. She learned about the importance of regular check-ups and of delivering in hospital, and about breastfeeding, hygiene and nutrition. Nurses at the clinic found that once again she had pre-eclampsia, and gave her the medicine and support she needed.
Gerald also went to a father support group. This time he knew how to help. Baby Steve is thriving and so is the family.
‘I feel blessed,’ says Fridah. ‘I thought if I had another baby I would die. Now I have two happy, healthy children.’
Discover more of our Christmas stories of hope.