Theresa is one of the many children in south Malaita whose health has improved thanks to World Vision's Maternal Child Health and Nutrition project
Rara is a remote community in Solomon Islands where basic health services are limited leaving women and children especially vulnerable to disease and injury. World Vision is working with communities in south Malaita province to adopt improved health and nutritional practices in order to protect the health of women and children.
Rebecca Supa’au, 30, a village health volunteer, spends time with women in the village raising awareness on healthy diet, good hygiene practices, antenatal checks and having a clean environment.
“I regard healthy diet as an important aspect of good health for mothers and children,” Rebecca said. “Lack of proper diets affects mothers and children but through World Vision’s intervention things are slowly but surely changing for better,” she said.
As part of the Maternal Child Health and Nutrition project, village health volunteers educate communities about healthy diet, good hygiene practices, exclusive breastfeeding, vaccination and vitamin supplements and attending antennal checks during pregnancy.
“Before the project started, our community was one of the more vulnerable communities around here. Mothers lack the knowledge to recognise danger signs during pregnancy. Insufficient antenatal visits to clinics, lack of medical facilities, transport and distance are some of the challenges we face here.”
“It’s different now,” she smiled. “This project has taught us a lot of lessons about the importance of maternal child health and nutrition.”
Rebecca believes that the community’s improved hygiene practices are keeping children, mothers and their families healthy.
“A recent diarrhoea outbreak in Solomon Islands hit many of our neighbouring communities but not one person in our village has been infected and I think that is a testament of a healthy and changing community,” she said.
Rebecca is proud to support mothers and happy to work with them to ensure their newborn children are up-to-date on growth monitoring, immunisation, taking vitamin supplements and deworming.
“World Vision has empowered us to see health as very important to improving our lives. Our children are generally healthy and happy now and this makes me proud as a village health volunteer and a mother.”
World Vision is working with 15 communities in south Malaita as part of the Maternal Child Health and Nutrition project and is supported by the AusAid NGO Cooperation Program.