Taking steps toward safer motherhood

After months of preparation, and weeks of training before the Christmas holidays, the MCH team began to roll out the REFLECT trainings lead by the new EMBRACE volunteers. The first topic being conducted this week focuses on safe motherhood, and will give the barangay health workers and volunteers the skills needed to start to conduct their own trainings during the coming weeks. The REFLECT model is focused on giving participants their own ability to take a leadership role in their learning.

The safe motherhood seminars, running concurrently across multiple barangays, focused on topics such as safe birthing techniques, nutrition, proper check-ups and necessity of using a skilled birth attendant for the delivery. The attendees were engaged in a game which gave them the chance to see factors that contribute to both safe and unsafe pregnancies and childbirths, with the goal of creating an overall “safe motherhood narrative”.

One of the attendees of the training was Rena Franco, 22, who herself is 35 weeks pregnant with her first child, due in exactly a month when we sat down to talk about what she has been learning during the training. Rena had been working in Manila, but when she found out she was pregnant she returned to her home to be with her family and to “rest more and put my baby first.”

Something else pulling her back home was the EMBRACE project, which her mother encouraged her to become a participant in. She was curious about the project, and about ADRA’s role in her barangay, so she stepped to become a part of the program. She also remarked that she decided to come back to be a part of the project since she said, there’s so much about motherhood that she has yet to figure out, and she is eager and excited to gain this knowledge about healthy parenthood from the project. “Today I learnt about how important it is to go to an OB, to go to all your check-ups,” which she stated that she has been following during her own pregnancy. She admits that before most of her knowledge around pregnancy and motherhood came from watching videos on YouTube.

Another of the attendees of the first session is Flordeliza, also from barangay Baliguian, who despite being a mother and caregiver for nearly twenty years, there is still a lot to learn – a lot of motherhood is continuously learning and adapting to new challenges as her children become older. Her six children span from 19 to 3 years old, in addition she is also a parent leader in the community as well as a Barangay Nutrition Scholar, where she is on the frontline of delivering health care to the community.  She stated that she was eager to get involved not only for her job and her own knowledge, but also to be able to relay the information to her children once they start having children of their own.

Marsha, or Menchie as she asked to be called during the training, was eager to attend the first of the safe motherhood trainings for the barangay this week. Throughout the training she was continuously recording down notes as the day went on, careful to catch all that the facilitator was expressing to the group. Talking with her near the end of the day, told ADRA that she was really interested in the topic of safe motherhood, being a big believer in the importance of breastfeeding young children. Being a mother herself also influenced her commitment to the training today, she said, stating that she believed the EMBRACE project was important to this barangay for the welfare of the future generations.

As active participants in the reflect learning units, the women will be prepared to take these skills and the knowledge gained today to go back to their community and start sharing the steps toward safer motherhood. In the coming weeks, there will be additional units, focusing on family planning, newborn health and feeding, and water and sanitation, to continue to impart key information back to other members of their barangays.