Why the establishment of health centres is not enough on its own

Well-equipped delivery rooms, medicines and skilled staff are needed for women to be able to bring their babies into this world without complications. The first step to a safe birth begins with the communication of knowledge. You can read here about how FAIRMED is supporting mothers in the Nepalese region of Baglung through awareness-raising campaigns.

Raising the awareness of mothers in groups of mothers, among others, is indispensable.

“One of the main goals of our project in Baglung district is to improve the health of mothers, newborns and children,” explains FAIRMED communications officer for Nepal, Brinda Bhandari.

However, it is not possible to achieve this goal through the construction of well-equipped delivery rooms and the commitment of medical professionals alone. According to Bhandari, the crux of the problem is that those who stand to benefit are often lacking information about how to use the offered health services. “Instead of using the services provided by these local health centres, the community prefers traditional midwives and culturally-rooted but potentially harmful practices of patient self-care,” says Bhandari.

Consuming alcohol after giving birth
One such example is the practice by some new mothers of drinking up to 500 millilitres of warm mustard oil after giving birth. Others consume alcohol during the first three to five days after birth. “They believe that warm mustard oil or locally produced alcohol helps them to regain their energy," continues Bhandari.

To bring about a change in the behaviour of mothers as regards their own health and that of their children, it is necessary to reinforce basic health knowledge in the community. There must also be increased confidence in the facilities and local health workers. To this end, FAIRMED conducts large-scale awareness-raising campaigns in Baglung to help mothers gain a better understanding of the benefits of professional healthcare.