Tag Archives: International Reporting Project

[Photos] Motherhood in Tanzania #IRPTZ

Dar es Saalam, Tanzania – Throughout my travels in Tanzania for the past ten days every time I saw a mother and her baby I smiled inside. And I was even more happy to see mothers breastfeeding their babies as breastfeeding has been proven to be a key intervention to keep more children under the age of five alive in developing countries.

Maasai Mother - Mkuru

Tanzania, unfortunately, is one of ten countries where 65 percent of the world’s child deaths occur. Compared to India, the country with the most child deaths at nearly 900,000 per year, Tanzania’s child mortality rate is low, but for it’s population size, the percentage is quite high.

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

Tanzanian mothers lose 48,000 children a year (17,000 on the first day of life). Most newborns die due to asphyxia, infections, and preterm birth here. Additionally, the maternal mortality rate in Tanzania strongly correlates to the child mortality rate. In Tanzania, maternal anemia rates due to malnutrition are leading to 20 percent of all maternal deaths. And in the rural areas, where most Tanzanians live, expectant mothers typically do not have a trained birth attendant to help deliver babies and only 50 percent of Tanzanian mothers give birth in a health facility. These factors contribute to the high maternal and newborn mortality rate. In fact, Tanzania loses 454 mothers per 100,000 live births due to complications during childbirth.

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

There is good news, however. The Tanzanian government is including key interventions to reduce child mortality included in its National Road Map Strategic Plan to Accelerate Reductions of Maternal, Newborn and Child Births which was devised in 2008 and has an end date of 2015 to reach Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5. While the child mortality rate in
Tanzania is improving, maternal mortality rates have remained stagnant.

Mothers, Iringa

Mother and Daughter in Morogoro, Tanzania

Mother and Son in Iringa, Tanzania

Sources

UNICEF
Save the Children

Reporting was made possible by a fellowship from the International Reporting Project.

All photos copyright of Jennifer James

Feeding Malnourished Children in Macha, Zambia #ZambiaHealth

I saw for the very first time in my life a severe acute malnourished child. He was two. I didn’t ask his name as not to pry into the intimate lives of two parents whose main concern was the life and health of their little one, but I will never forget his swollen face.

I met this toddler at the Macha Mission Hospital in the Southern Province in Zambia where I am traveling as an International Reporting Project fellow. His face was full of open sores, especially around his mouth, and he was severely lethargic, not even able to hold his head up and opted instead to rest his heavy head on his father’s shoulder. His father’s eyes met mine as he asked through them for me to help. I couldn’t. I was just there as an observer.

The malnourished child’s tiny bare feet were sticking out of dirty trousers and were exposing raw flesh that was trying to heal. I noticed his feet where also quite swollen, a noticeable sign of oedema and an exclamation point saying that he did not have the proper amount of nutrients and food coursing through his body to make him a happy and healthy little boy.

In this area of Zambia, in Macha, most of the people are subsistence farmers who live on homesteads and survive on less than $1.50 USD per day. This is consistent throughout the country where 60.5 percent of Zambians live in poverty and the top 10 percent of Zambians own nearly 48 percent of the wealth according to World Bank data. Poverty is rife here, especially in the rural areas where employment is a toss-up, and some of the outcomes of endemic poverty is malnutrition in children. In fact, 45 percent of Zambian children are stunted due to a lack of proper nutrition.

At this government-run hospital Macha Mission nurses provide malnourished children with HEPS (high energy protein supplement). They prepare this porridge-like mixture for the children during their stay and when they leave parents are given the supplement powder to continue providing necessary nutrition to their children.

While one of the most well-known international nutritional products for malnourished children is Plumpy Nut for children and Plumpy Sup for adults, the Executive Director of Macha Mission Hospital, Mr. Abrahan Mhango, told me that Plumpy Nut and Sup are not always available to them and so the hospital uses a powdered nutritional supplement instead.

HEPS - High energy protein supplement

Mixtures, of course, are made based on nutritional need and age and size of the children. The chart for mixture amounts is easily referenced in the hospital kitchen for the nurses.

HEPS Schedule

Breastfeeding in Zambia

At every clinic where I have gone and even in everyday settings I have seen pro-breastfeeding literature, billboards, and even handwritten signs. These seem to be working. In Zambia, 61 percent of mothers exclusively breastfeed for the first six months and then it gradually tapers to 37 percent from 6 – 23 months. Save the Children recommends that children be breastfed during the first hour after birth.

Breastfeeding

I have no idea what Zambia is going to do about their malnutrition problem. I will follow this story and report from what I see on the Net. I hope malnutrition and stunting rates go down.

Sanitation Wisdom from a Zambian Chief #ZambiaHealth

As you may know I am in Zambia with the International Reporting Project as a New Media fellow. Ten of us are here in the country to report on HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other rarely covered stories in the region.

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Yesterday we visited Macha, a small Southern province town 60 miles from the nearest city, Choma. Macha is the home of the Malaria Institute at Macha, an institute that has successfully reduced the number of malaria cases in the area by 90 percent. The vast majority of the residents of Macha are subsistence farmers who live on small homesteads.

In order to achieve such an unprecedented reduction in malaria cases,  the will of the community must first be achieved through the area chief. Chief Macha was the conduit through which much of the malaria success took place.

We were invited to Chief Macha’s palace to speak to him about how he fights HIV/AIDS, but instead he wanted to speak to us about sanitation and health. Now that malaria has been controlled in Macha, Chief Macha has taken up a new cause – village sanitation. In fact, last year Chief Macha was honored as a UNICEF Zambia Supporter for Sanitation.

He spoke to us about his philosophy about ensuring every homestead has its own pit latrine and how he created a 100 percent Open Defecation Free community.

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“You cannot do anything without your health.” – Chief Macha

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“Food and sanitation must be fought the world over. – Chief Macha

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“We should all be sanitation drivers.”  – Chief Macha

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“I have given myself to sanitation.” – Chief Macha

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“Without clean water you have a problem with disease. If you drink dead water you come down with diarrhea.” – Chief Macha

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“If you have the will, things can be done.” – Chief Macha

Photos:  Jennifer James

Update on New Media Journalists’ Child Survival Reporting from India #IRPIndia

While on press trips abroad it is always nice to know people are listening and reading back home. That’s why we’re happy to share the latest from the International Reporting Project’s new media journalists who are reporting about child survival in India.

Read our first post: New Media Journalists Travel to India, Report on Child Survival.

Interesting reads:

How Biometric Innovation is Helping TB Patients in India (Jennifer Uloma Igwe)

A common health challenge in the settlement is tuberculosis. The project we visited, called Operation Asha, is saving lives in the area through a biometric (fingerprint) system used to track patients and to ensure they take their medications.

Safe Drinking Water in India: How Smart Design Positioned Unilever as a Leader (Leon Kaye)

Hindustan Unilever is India’s largest consumer goods company, with $4 billion in annual sales and over 16,000 employees–over 5,000 of whom work at the company’s headquarters in suburban Mumbai. The division of the Dutch-British conglomerate dates back to the 1930s and its oldest brand has its origins in 1885.

My First Night In Mumbai, India (Lindsey Mastis) Also, read Visiting Mumbai’s Slums by Mastis.

It was already dark. Already past 10 p.m. But the city was alive. Shops looked open It seemed everyone was awake. People were walking around, and some cars were packed full of small children. This would be considered pretty unusual in America on a school night.

Then, on the side of the road, I noticed families.

I thought to myself, “They must live there. Under that bridge. How do they do it? How do they stay safe at night?” Our car continued on. The driver asked me if I wanted them to stop so I could take pictures. I said no, as I snapped a few pictures from my seat. It was so dark, my photos were coming out blurry.

Follow the journalists’ tweets at #IRPIndia.

Read more at the International Reporting Project.

Photo: United Nations

New Media Journalists Travel to India, Report on Child Survival

Caption: Women and Children’s Hospital in Mumbai, India: A child is pictured at Cama Hospital, a major hospital for women and children, in Mumbai, India. Photo: United Nations

The International Reporting Project (IRP) has sent ten new media journalists to India to report on child survival. You may recall, the Indian Ministry of Health along with UNICEF and USAID convened the latest Child Survival Summit earlier this month where, of course, child survival reigned top on the agenda.

India accounts for the largest number of under-five deaths in the world at around 1.5 million. According to the World Bank that number has steadily decreased from 69 under-five child deaths per 1000 in 2008 to 61 (Source). And according to the UN Inter-agency Group for Child Mortality Estimation (UN-IGME) India and Nigeria account for more than a third of all under-five deaths worldwide.

India, however, is committed to lowering its child mortality rate. Through site visits and expert round tables, the IRP journalists will share what they learn on their ten-day visit to India. Follow the #IRPIndia hashtag to follow the conversation through the end of the month.

Some key tweets that have stood out so far are: