Proper care, guidance, and support for expectant mothers and their babies are essential for the future of any society. In Zambia, however, only 47% of births are attended by a skilled health worker at a healthcare institution. Zambia's maternal mortality rate is 591 per 100,000 live births, and its under-five mortality rate is 119 per 1,000 live births. Problems of access to healthcare facilities continue to exist, but many pregnant women do not deliver with the help of a trained clinical provider simply because they lack knowledge about why doing this is important. Many illnesses such as diarrhoea and malaria that disproportionally affect children and pregnant women can be treated at health facilities. Many complications that arise during the birthing process can be effectively handled by trained caregivers, and Prevention of Mother To Child Transmission (PMTCT) of HIV can be accessed through these same healthcare providers.
What is most important is for women to be encouraged to take advantage of the maternal, newborn, and child health care services that Zambia offers. These include antenatal checkups, postnatal care, intermittent presumptive treatment for malaria, and adherence to a PMTCT regimen for mothers who are HIV positive. In addition, men need to be encouraged to support their partners and participate in these health interventions with them.
CHAMP, with the aid of the Communications Support for Health project is working to improve the quality and uptake of maternal, newborn, and child health services in Zambia by providing information, counselling, and referral services through the toll-free, 24-hour 990 Talkline.