Mothers’ support group: Sifrash’s game changer

Friday 23 June 2017

Sifrash, 28, mother of four children, lives in Dabat, North Gonder. She recently gave birth to her baby boy, Teshager. Because she was hypertensive during pregnancy, she was referred to the health center.  Before Teshager, Sifrash gave birth to two of her children at home.

“If I had delivered my baby at home this time, I would have died,” she says. Prior to delivery, Sifrash received care at the maternal waiting room in the health center and had a safe delivery.

Sifrash is a member of the mothers’ support group led by Enani, a health development army (HDA) leader in the community. Since Sifrash joined this group, she says her knowledge and understanding of maternal and child health has greatly improved. She largely attributes her lately growing awareness to Enani’s tireless counseling and support.

“Enani visits me at home and counsels me on how to keep my children and myself healthy. That has made a difference in my understanding of maternal and child health,” Sifrash explains.

Sifrash used to think providing nutritious food to her family is a long shot because of her family’s limited means. But the cooking demonstration sessions she attended within her mothers’ group changed her perception. “Thanks to those sessions, I realized that I could actually cook nutritious food for my children using ingredients available at home,” says Sifrash. She has seen for herself how nutrition helps her children grow healthy. She says, “Tiruwork, my three-year-old daughter, was long sick and malnourished. Now that I cook nutritious food for her, she is eating well and growing healthy." For Sifrash, there is nothing more important than seeing her children doing well. All I want is for my children to grow healthy, get education and lead a successful life,” Sifrash says.

As part of its project interventions to improve maternal and child health in Debate Woreda of North Gonder zone, Save the Children provides capacity building training for health development armies (HDAs). Enani was one of those trainees. The HDAs then lead mothers’ support groups, a platform they use to promote knowledge on maternal and child health.