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The Healthy Mothers and Babies Project aims to reduce high maternal and infant death and illness as well as improve child nutrition levels. The project is part of a broader program that tackles women’s health education in two ways: firstly, raising awareness of health issues among women working in the garment industry; and secondly, strengthening systems for ensuring that rural women can get hospital-based care in emergencies.
Healthy Mothers and Babies is a multifaceted program that mainly targets women in the garment industry. Key activities included
Completed, in partnership with International Labour Organisation,
The study indicated that in the five provinces, children under two children spent a significant amount of time each day in the care of secondary caregivers, particularly grandmothers and older siblings.
As a result, the program will be tailored to address issues faced by mothers with regard to care and feeding, but will also improve services for secondary caregivers to ensure they have the required skills and knowledge.
A multi-layered approach to communication to reach the women in clothing factories where the clothing brand has not been willing to facilitate the work themselves.
Between 2007 and 2010, CARE worked with 70 villages in Koh Kong Province to establish systems that would ensure transportation for women who required emergency obstetric services and skilled birth attendance from a referral hospital. These systems, called Village Emergency Referral Systems (VERS), train and equip local people to assess injury, illness or complications, to take correct first aid steps, and then to arrange transport to hospital if required.
The communities placed high value on VERS but they have been difficult to sustain financially.
In 2012, a pilot project was designed to test whether Village Savings and Loan Associations could help to financially sustain VERS. Then, with its partners, CARE trained twenty staff, whose job it will be to engage and train communities in how to successfully and accountably manage a Village Savings and Loan association.
In a bustling garment factory in Phnom Penh, Thyda Pin (pictured) earns a living sewing clothes. Thyda grew up in Svay Reang Province but, like so many, moved to Phnom Penh to get a job to help support her family. The garment industry employs 350,000 people in Cambodia. Many of the women working in garment factories are vulnerable to exploitation because they have migrated to unfamiliar cities, have little formal education, poor health literacy and limited experience managing their income.
Thyda Pin holds an important role at the factory, working as a Peer Educator to share health information with her co-workers. Peer education sessions in factories cover topics such as maternal and child health, sexual and reproductive health, microfinance savings and remittance tools. Education sessions are run during the factory lunch break so that all workers have an opportunity to participate.
‘I never thought I would have the ability to provide information to other people. After the training I became a member of the Peer Educator [program] and I feel excited that I can talk with my friends [factory workers] about information relating to health,’ she says.
Thyda Pin’s story illustrates the work that will be done by Peer Educators trained under the current program. The sessions cover a variety of information. A maternal and child health session, for example, covers information such as healthy pregnancy and childbirth, caring for yourself and your infant after childbirth, knowing how to get help, and knowing your rights. These sessions are designed to be interactive and engage participants in discussion.