The West African nation of Togo (officially the Togolese Republic) is one of the smallest countries in sub-Saharan Africa. It covers 22,000 square miles and has a population of approximately 6.7 million. The country, which is ranked 166 of 187 on the 2014 Human Development Index, struggles to address health issues including maternal mortality – with 450 pregnant women dying per 100,000 births (Worldbank 2013).
Direct Relief is working with Hope Through Health (HTH) to increase access to maternal and child healthcare services for resource-poor communities in northern Togo. The joint project helps to identify, educate, and support pregnant women through health care worker training and outreach activities. It also aims to improve the capacity of public health clinics by addressing chronic shortages of essential medical commodities for maternal, newborn, and child health.
As part of the project, HTH has trained 25 female community health workers (CHWs) on motherhood and delivery-related health care/treatment requirements and services. The CHWs will serve approximately 4,000 women of reproductive age, identifying pregnant women and referring them to community medical clinics for prenatal care. CHWs will also educate women on the importance of delivering in a health facility and will work with them to create safe birth plans. After delivery, CHWs will follow up with new mothers to ensure that they are receiving proper postnatal care.
Direct Relief is supporting the program with the provision of its ICM–endorsed Midwife Kits. Twenty of these comprehensive kits arrived in Togo on August 12, 2015. They are already being used by medical clinics in the four targeted communities of Adabawere, Djamde, Kpindi, and Sarakawa to support safe pregnancies and deliveries.
The Adabawere health clinic serves a population of almost 7,000 people in a neighborhood of Kara, the third largest city in Togo. With a 77 percent utilization rate, the clinic is often bustling with women and children but suffered severe shortages of the medical resources needed to care for the region’s nearly 2,000 women of childbearing age.
The clinics in Djamde, Kpindi, and Sarakawa each serve rural communities with a combined population of approximately 13,000. These facilities have very low utilization rates – roughly 10% – and desperately need the right medical resources.
HTH anticipates a considerable increase in the use of medical clinics now that the facilities are better equipped.
HTH has worked closely with key stakeholders on program design and buy-in for this critical intervention. HTH, health authorities, CHWs, and local communities have all expressed their appreciation for the Direct Relief Midwife Kits and the opportunity to improve the health of women and families.