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Crisis Alert: Americares Prepares Response to Deadly Earthquakes in Turkey & Syria

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Mother & Child Health

Keeping mom & child healthy in times of crisis and beyond.

Protecting the Most Vulnerable

Natural disasters, poverty, conflict and social unrest threaten the most vulnerable in a community with mothers and children often the first to face the consequences. That gives a special urgency to restoring and supporting the services that keep mother and child healthy even in extreme circumstances:

  1. Make sure that the local maternal and child health center has a power source after a storm to help ensure safe deliveries. 
  2. Deliver emergency medicine and medical supplies to replace those lost in a disaster. 
  3. Train health workers at a local health center to strengthen key skills or add new ones that identify potential risks and provide quality care for mothers and newborns. 
  4. Set up a temporary facility until a damaged center can be repaired, or extra medical staff to help during the crisis.
  5. Provide something as basic as clean water, which a local health center in an extremely poor region may lack. 
  6. Support community health workers and leaders with resources as the first line of health in a crisis.
  7. Help build a road to health equity and fundamentally reduce the disparity in quality health care access which is often deadly. In maternal care in the U.S., for example, Black women are 3 times as likely to die from a maternal cause as white women.

Power, supplies, staff support, water, local community involvement, and equal health care access are all important to a mother’s health. Continue on to read more about four places where #Health4Mom has taken a big step forward.

Doctor Bleidys having a medical consultation with 36-week pregnant patent Lucian who is at the clinic seeking prenatal care. Barranquilla, Colombia
Doctor Bleidys having a medical consultation with 36-week pregnant patent Lucian who is at the clinic seeking prenatal care. Barranquilla, Colombia, Friday, Sept 18, 2020. (Americares/ Ana Maria Ariza)

How far will Mom go to protect her children, including the ones not yet born?  

In Colombia, during the current Venezuelan humanitarian crisis, thousands of expectant mothers are travelling miles and crossing borders to seek basic health care at our clinics. With the collapse of much of the health system in Venezuela, pregnant women are finding access in the Americares clinics to proper nutritional support, screening for possible complications and referrals for specific health issues, providing a path to a healthy delivery. Many of the clinic visits involving pregnant women seeking prenatal care have underlying health conditions making them more susceptible to high-risk pregnancies. Some women arrive with potential pregnancy complications that can be treated at our clinics or are then referred to other healthcare providers.

Two children with mother walking up path to a mobile health clinic in Bogota, Colombia, March 4, 2022. (Photo - Jeff Kennel/Americares)
A mother with her two children visit a mobile health clinic in Bogota, Colombia, March 4, 2022. (Photo – Jeff Kennel/Americares)

What can Mom do when the earth shakes and health facilities are damaged or destroyed?

In Indonesia, following the recent earthquake our team provided medicines and medical supplies and support to emergency clinics—including a reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health emergency clinic—being managed by the Ministry of Health and the United Nations Population Fund. When a disaster of this magnitude strikes, many basic services are lost at a vulnerable time for mothers. Restoring those services is crucial. Trauma from the disaster threatens moms, children and their health care providers. 

Red tent for health care with americares logo on outside with woman inside
Americares supports a reporductive tent in Cianjur, Indonesia on November 26, 2022 following the deadly 5.6-magnitude earthquake that hit West Java, Indonesia. Americares has deployed a team of Indonesia roster members and purchased medicine, medical supplies, and WASH items to aid damaged health facilities in Cianjur. November 26, 2022. (Photo/Americares)

When war struck, it affected everyone in Ukraine, but it is particularly cruel to pregnant women.

To protect expectant mothers, Americares is providing emergency obstetric kits for mothers who are being forced by the conflict in the Ukraine to give birth outside of traditional health care settings.

In Ukraine hospitals and in hundreds of other health centers around the world we are committed to providing mothers with the health care she and her child need. Read more about our work with new mothers and mothers to be during wartime.

Nataliia outside her temporary home in Bialobrzegi, Poland. She fled Zelenodolsk, Ukraine, in March 2022 with 1-month-old twins.

In Tanzania, Americares Community Partnerships for Respectful Care project will build trust in health facilities, so women access more health services, including pre- and post-natal care and reproductive care. In fiscal year 2021, Americares managed 20 health projects that targeted women’s health in 14 countries. Read more about our work for maternal and child health in country.

Expectant mom visiting clinic at Sengerema Hospital in Tanzania
Meresiana visits the facility for prenatal care services. She is among women who attended by Mr. Yusuph as part of his daily routine. Friday, Sept. 18, 2020. (Photo/Frank Kimaro)

For years, the health of mother and child has been a focus of our work around the world and here at home.