U.S. Doctors Work with Mozambicans to Save Infants, New Mothers

By ABC News

Dec 27, 2011 4:57pm

Dr. Natasha Anushri Anandaraja, director of the Mount Sinai Global Health Training Center, and Dr. Sigrid Hahn have spent the past two years traveling with medical students from Mt. Sinai in New York City to remote Mozambique. Working with local  health care providers there, their mission is to help villagers in some of the most remote areas of Mozambique gain access to basic health care.

Hahn explained that poverty is the biggest underlying cause for health issues in a region where the average salary is  just 7 cents a day.  The Mozambique Health Ministry is working to convince villagers to understand why it is important that women go to the hospital where it is safer to have their babies, so they welcome the help of the doctors at Mt. Sinai to push that message.

The doctors are partnered up with Mozambican  health care workers who speak the languages of the region and understand the deeply ingrained cultural issues.  While trying to impress upon villagers the importance of getting to the hospital, the team recognizes that so many of the women will continue to give birth in the villages in part for the simple reason that they are so far away from any hospital and getting there is a feat.  In light of that, the team trains volunteer village birth attendants how to identify and handle complications that arise in pregnancy and childbirth in a region where one in five infants die.

Building trust and understanding with locals is key to saving women and children from dying in childbirth in the remote communities living near Gorongosa National Park.  A large part of addressing health concerns in the region is to rebuild the ecosystem there, an effort that is supported in large part by the Carr Foundation, also a critical sponsor of the work the Mt. Sinai doctors are doing there.

For more information about the Mount Sinai program and the Carr Foundation, visit the following:

Mount Sinai Global Health: http://www.mssm.edu/globalhealth

The Carr Foundation: http://www.carrfoundation.org/

Gorongosa Restoration Project: http://www.gorongosa.net/

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