Maternal and Child Health and Nutrition

Zambia

Zambia has one of the highest rates of childhood stunting in the world. The 1,000 Days of Motherhood Maternal and Child Health initiative is playing a vital role in educating pregnant women and new mothers on nutrition and maternal and child heath. This local language audio series explains to mothers how to keep themselves and their babies healthy, in practical and affordable ways that respect local culture and tradition.

We’re working with Zambia’s National Food and Nutrition Commission (NFNC) on the 1,000 Days programme to actively address under-nutrition, which is a leading cause of child deaths in Zambia. The NFNC have created the audio content called Bushes that Grow.  Translated into several local languages and in English, our solar and wind-up Lifeplayers support the listening groups. These women, who are poor and often illiterate, live in rural farming communities and seldom have access to radio.  Most don’t own cell phones themselves, but the group may have a phone to share.

Maternal Nutrition and Listener Groups

Listening groups give women the opportunity to come together to listen to messages and stories that focus on maternal health and diet, breastfeeding, how best to feed their children, the importance of attending pre- and post-natal clinics, and a host of other health information. The scripts are created by experts in their fields such as doctors, nutritionists and public health officials. After the programme, they discuss how to best implement the suggestions.

“I was so impressed with the women that I met, who faithfully meet each week to listening to the programmes and to learn,” said Kristine Pearson, Lifeline CEO, who recently spent time with groups in Zambia.  “These women are so keen to learn and improve the health of their children.  Several women movingly told me how they had lost children and that if they had known then what they do now, they think their lives could have been saved.”

Demand for the 1,000 Days initiative is growing.  We continue to receive ongoing requests for additional Lifeplayers to support new listener groups. Some of the listening groups have become so large that they’ve split into smaller groups.  Groups then share a Lifeplayer, which isn’t ideal as they may be miles apart. We have also seen an increasing number of fathers joining in, as they want to know more about the health and well-being of their families.

While the women look forward to their weekly listening group meetings and the information they hear, they are keen to learn more. They’d like literacy programmes, help with how to create a business, and help on how to better care for their livestock.  We have access to content that can help them!

Read more about the impact our 1,000 Days of Motherhood programme is making in Zambia; and how you can make a difference to support this important and potentially life-saving initiative.