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HAPPY MUMS, HAPPY TUMS: SUPPORTING FAMILIES’ HEALTH AND NUTRITION IN SIERRA LEONE

A final update on our UK Aid-funded project working with communities in Sierra Leone to support the health and wellbeing of children, mothers and pregnant women.

Back in 2019 we launched our ‘Happy Mums, Happy Tums’ appeal, focusing on our work around maternal and child health in northern Sierra Leone. Thanks to the support of many generous donors this appeal raised £212,505, including £100,788 of match funding from the UK government.

Over these past few years, we have been working with community leaders, health workers and volunteers to help families in remote villages secure sustainable sources of nutritious food and safeguard their health, through our ‘Mama en Pikin Welbodi Project’ (meaning ‘Mother and child health project’ in Krio).

This project specifically focused on improving the health and nutrition of pregnant women and children under five in Bombali and Karene districts.

Our team in Sierra Leone has been training, equipping and supporting community workers and health staff, so they can better reach families in remote settlements and help to improve their nutrition and health.

At the same time, we’ve been working with communities to raise awareness of good nutrition, health and hygiene practices.

We’ve also been able to identify and support particularly vulnerable families to develop sustainable sources of nutritious food by establishing vegetable gardens and providing breeding pairs of livestock.

Over the course of this project, by partnering with local communities, health workers and volunteers we’ve:

  • Supported over 600 households to establish vegetable gardens and rear livestock, helping 2,802 mothers and 1,545 children under five years eat iron-rich food
  • Supported over 5000 pregnant women to access health and nutrition services
  • Seen a reduction in the incidence of malnutrition among pregnant women and an increase in the birth weight of newborns by 7.58% across the districts.
  • Supported 1,123 mothers to practise early breastfeeding
  • Helped 619 children under five years receive deworming treatment
  • Set up 163 hand-washing stations, to improve hygiene and reduce cases of diarrhoea in children under 5 (as well as helping to prevent the spread of COVID19).
  • Facilitated women’s group meetings to encourage discussions on nutrition and health. These groups have participated in 18 radio discussion shows and are helping to raise awareness of nutrition in their communities
  • Organised nutrition training for 115 Community Health Workers (CHWs), who are respected members of the community working with local health clinics in remote villages
  • Trained 58 health workers so they can support and supervise CHWs and better reach out to communities to monitor and improve nutrition
  • Supplied bicycles to CHWs so they can share their knowledge on nutrition with more families, and spot early signs of malnutrition

From all of us at Health Poverty Action and on behalf of all the communities we work with – thank you for supporting our ‘Happy Mums, Happy Tums’ appeal. We look forward to updating on our future work in Sierra Leone alongside our local community partners!