World Vision Solomon Islands and partners travelled to Russell Islands in the Central Islands Province to visit communities taking part in World Vision’s Maternal Newborn Child Health and Nutrition (MCHN) project, in late September.
At Karamulan Community and Nukufera Community, representatives from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services, World Health Organization, Japan International Cooperation Agency, and World Vision met with community members, chiefs, provincial government representatives to learn how the project is improving health and nutrition of pregnant women, children and mothers.
Provincial government ward member Hon. Michael Arofa Teasia, says the MNCHN project has improved community health and villagers were now encouraged to keep their living areas cleaner.
The delegation also met with Village Health Volunteers, who had been selected by their community to work alongside health staff and carry out household visits on pregnant mothers and newborns, stage community awareness on health, nutrition, common child diseases, and to promote immunisation.
Community health nurse, Ruxton Kasoa, says the work of volunteers is complementing his work and contributing to better health care in the community.
“In the past it was believed, that the first breast milk or ‘sour milk’ was bad for babies. As a result of the awareness done by volunteers, now most mothers know that colostrum is good for babies.”
He says behavior has also started to change in breaking down the cultural barrier around pregnancy.
“In the past pregnancy was a woman’s business, now you see men paddling their wives to clinic for check-ups and taking better care of their wives,” said Mr Ruxton.
The MNCHN project in Central Islands Province covers 16 communities with two or more Village Health Volunteers per community.
Village Health Volunteer, Sylvester Valai says household visits have been effective in delivering health messages directly to people, especially to pregnant women.
The delegation included Kelton Sikala from the Ministry of Health and Medical Services; Dr Magdi Kassem RMNCAH UN Joint Programme Coordinator; Dr Simon Burggraaf, RMNCAH Guadalcanal Project Manager; Maho Miura, Project Formulation Advisor, Japan International Cooperation Agency; Dr Toru Rikimaru, Chief Health Advisor, Healthy Villages Project; Myles Harrison, World Vision Pacific Timor-Leste Director; and World Vision Solomon Islands Country Director, Janes Ginting.
World Vision’s MNCHN project in Makira, South Malaita and Central Islands Province and is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program. In Temotu Province, World Vision’s MNCHN project there is supported by UNICEF.