Embrace’s first project in the Middle East was launched in April 2013 at Rabia Balkhi Hospital in Kabul, Afghanistan, in partnership with Health, Education, and Development for Afghanistan (HED-A), a small family-run NGO with strong ties to the Afghan community. Infant and maternal mortality rates in Afghanistan are among the highest in the world.
Embrace program activities at Rabia Balkhi Hospital focus on: (1) raising awareness of the devastating impact of hypothermia in premature and low birth weight babies; (2) providing on-going training and support on use of the Embrace infant warmer and Kangaroo Mother Care, which includes breastfeeding and skin-to-skin contact, to keep the baby warm and protect from infection; and (3) delivering complementary, culturally appropriate health education focused on addressing the root causes of low birth weight and other critical maternal and child health issues.
We have had incredible uptake of the Embrace infant warmer at Rabia Balkhi Hospital. In the program’s first three months, we provided side-by-side training to nearly 200 mothers and health care workers and served over 1,700 infants. We see tremendous opportunities to expand our work to three additional hospitals in the Kabul area by early 2014, given our initial program assessment, feedback from Rabia Balkhi Hospital staff, support from the Ministry of Public Health, and the pressing community needs. Under our current ‘Satellite’ program model, our local Site Manager based at Rabia Balkhi Hospital would also provide training and support to surrounding health care facilities in the region.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (January 2014)