Around the world too many women and children are dying because of complications in pregnancy and childbirth, however many lives could be saved if mothers had better access to medical care and greater mental health support.
Today (25 March 2019) Christian child development charity Compassion UK is launching its Different Path Appeal to provide vital support to these vulnerable mothers and babies and help improve poor child survival rates in Togo, West Africa. The UK government (Department for International Development) is matching each donation given to the charity’s Appeal before 24 June 2019, enabling even more families to be helped.
In Togo, one of the least developed countries in the world, one in every 20 babies do not reach their first birthday. This situation is in stark contrast to the UK where only one in 250 babies die before this one-year milestone . Complications in pregnancy and at birth, infections, disease and malnutrition are all causes of death, but the root cause of the problem is poverty.
With more than half of people in Togo living below the poverty line on less than £1.50 a day, thousands of families simply can’t afford or access basic lifesaving nutrition and medical support.
Compassion’s Different Path Appeal will fund Child Survival projects delivered in partnership with the local church in Togo. These projects will improve pregnant women’s access to antenatal check-ups and trained birth attendants, offer life-saving assistance including basic healthcare, hygiene, nutritious food and safe water, as well as providing mentoring, support and spiritual guidance for families.
Justin Dowds, CEO of Compassion UK comments: “Poverty can have a devastating impact on both a child’s chances of survival and their long-term development. To prevent women and babies dying needlessly, we have to reach them early – before babies have even been born – and support women with essential antenatal checkups and support at birth. The generous funding from the UK government will allow us to transform the lives of even more families in Togo, ensuring their health and wellbeing.”
With the help of the UK government’s Aid Match scheme, the charity is extending its work in Togo and plans to increase the number of Child Survival projects in the country.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said: “Our brilliant NHS means UK parents get access to some of the best maternity healthcare in the world, but in Togo the reality for expectant mothers is very different – one in every 20 babies don’t make it to their first birthday.
“The Different Path UK Aid Match appeal will work to change this, providing the basic maternal healthcare that will see more children across the country reach adulthood and realise their potential. UK Aid Match will double every pound which the British public donates to this campaign, meaning their generosity will go twice as far.”
Compassion’s Different Path Appeal will mean that more mothers like 35-year-old Ama can worry less about their family’s future.
When Ama became pregnant with Luke, antenatal check-ups were a luxury the family couldn’t afford. With support from Compassion’s Child Survival project at her local church Ama received these essential checks and the family were provided with food and hygiene packs. “When I was pregnant without being in the programme, I could not go regularly to the hospital for checks, whereas after registration I always and regularly went to hospital as needed,” she says. “The biggest benefit was medicines, medical fees and prenatal checks. After I delivered, we received soap and many other stuffs for the child. Now I have peace of mind.” With the help of Compassion, baby Luke is being provided with the best possible start in life and this family are now on a different path.
Compassion’s trained community workers also visit families at home and lead group activities at their local church where caregivers learn how to prepare nutritious food, monitor their children’s health and development, create a stable home-life and develop skills that will help them generate an income. This focused, personalised support helps families to be independent and build stable, healthy, hopeful futures for their children.
Koffi Ahonon from Compassion Togo comments: “By working through local staff in local churches, we have a deep understanding of the specific challenges faced by each community we support. Through this approach, we address the root causes of poverty to positively impact the lives of children, families and communities. We also connect vulnerable women with a broader network of support where they can develop their self-esteem, learn to build stable relationships and make good choices for themselves and their children.”
You can help save lives, by texting TOGO to 70660 to donate £10 (View terms & conditions) or by visiting www.compassionuk.org/differentpath. Give before 24 June 2019 and the UK government will double your donation, so Compassion can help even more families.