The project seeks reduction in neonatal and infant mortality rates by increasing access to skilled healthcare for women and their infants, and increasing knowledge, skills, and resilience on new-born and infant care among pregnant women. Lastly, the project also strengthens Uganda Red Cross’ capacity to deliver, monitor, and evaluate its mother and new-born health services. Uganda’s neonatal and maternal mortality rates remain high as the country works to reduce these numbers as a part of the Millennium Development Goals. Only 59% of pregnant women have supervised deliveries and new-born and neonatal deaths account for 40% of all deaths among children under five years old. Mothers are often young, below twenty years old, access to care is low due to distance, misconceptions and poor referral systems, and rural mothers often enter pre-pregnancy care too late, all of which contributes to high neonatal mortality rates. The project will take place in the Apac, Masaka, and Ntungamo districts.
Reducing neonatal and infant mortality is carried out using simple yet effective multi-sectoral interventions that cover women before, during, and after birth, supplementing governmental efforts. Health facilities will be refurbished to provide proper care environments, Ugandan Red Cross volunteers trained in mother and new-born care. At the community level, positive health-seeking behaviours are promoted for pregnant women and new-born mothers.
The project will directly target 5,000 pregnant women/mothers and approximately 4500 of their new born babies. Indirectly, the project will reach 423,760 people through behaviour change communication activities.