The overall objective of the project is to contribute to the reduction of infant and maternal morbidity and mortality in the two health districts of the province of Cankuzo by strengthening the capacity of Burundi’s Red Cross and focusing on the most vulnerable groups–pregnant women and children under one years old. Children under five years of age and pregnant women have high morality rates in Burundi, one the world’s poorest countries. Diseases, such as malaria, HIV/AIDS, and diarrheal diseases, low health coverage, and poor quality health care account for these rates, where there is only one doctor for every 34,744 people. Within Cankuzo province, the Cankuzo, Kigamba, Gisagara, and Mishiha communes are targeted.
As with other programmes, the Red Cross focuses on promoting positive health behaviours in communities and increasing the capacity of its branches to better manage and care for infant and mother health. This means training Red Cross staff in child health and PMTCT (prevention of mother-to-child transmission), for example, and educating women and communities on child and reproductive health.
The direct project beneficiaries are pregnant or lactating women, children under one year and women of childbearing age.