Kanhchara, 23, said that she was excited to be a first-time mother but was also nervous. Caring for a newborn can be a daunting challenge.
After experiencing morning sickness, Kanhchara quickly went to Sanlung Health Centre to get a pregnancy test and talked with the health staff there. ‘I was so happy to find out that I was pregnant’, Kanhchara said, having experienced a miscarriage in her first pregnancy.
Kanhchara was soon visited by her neighbour, Neang Chou, who is a village health volunteer. ‘She regularly came to visit and check-up on me, and to also remind me to get a health check at the centre and to take iron pills regularly’, Kanhchara said.
World Vision Cambodia has built-up the capacity of the village health group to educate pregnant women on: antenatal and postnatal care, the importance of taking vitamin A and iron supplements, HIV and AIDS, as well as hygiene and sanitation practices. World Vision Cambodia also works closely with the village health group and health centre staff to ensure that mothers engage in exclusive breastfeeding, take their children for vaccinations and receive education on food nutrition for their children once they reach 6 months old.
Some of Kanhchara’s community’s health goals are to decrease the rates of under-five child mortality. In 2010, the village was seeing 54 newborn deaths per 1,000 live births. The village also seeks to decrease the rate of child stunting and wasting.
Kanhchara soon gave birth to a baby boy- Manara So, who was born weighing 2.5 kilograms.
Kanhchara and Manara are both healthy. ‘I try to eat vegetable soup and other nutritious meals as much as possible,’ Kanhchara said with a smile.
Kanhchara eagerly took her baby to be vaccinated against preventable diseases. ‘These vaccinations protect my son from tetanus, polio, hepatitis B, measles and other diseases,’ Kanhchara said.
To improve villagers’ health service to Sanlung commune, World Vision provided material for two waiting beds, two cardiographs, two stethoscopes and a flashlight for delivery. World Vision also coordinated to equip the health centre staff with birth spacing training, training on the delivery of babies, vaccinations, and antenatal and postnatal check-ups.