Amnesty International visits 1000 Hills community

AMNESTY International, an international human rights organization head-quartered in London, , which has recently opened a new Regional Hub office in Johannesburg, has partnered up with The Valley Trust to try to understand what barriers rural women in South Africa face while accessing ante-natal care.

Amnesty International is currently working on a project looking at maternal health across three countries: South Africa, Nepal and Burkina Faso. While the project focuses on different aspects of maternal health services in each of these three countries, the aim is to improve the availability, accessibility, acceptability and quality of these services, and work towards ensuring that women are able to access the right to health free from discrimination, coercion, stigma and violence.

Amnesty International researchers visited a community in the Valley of 1000 Hills where they held focus group discussions with primary and community care givers to understand the perspectives and challenges women in this region face while accessing ante-natal services. They also addressed local woman in that community about accessing ante-natal care, existing health services, their experience during pregnancy and delivery, and their suggestions regarding what should be changed or improved.

Amnesty International will release a report on these issues in 2014.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to hear from women themselves of the challenges they experience accessing antenatal care and their views of how access barriers can be reduced” said Louise Carmody, Maternal Health Researcher at Amnesty International. “We are thankful to the Valley Trust for their time and for helping make this possible.”

The Valley Trust has recently launched a programme to improve the health and development of young children in the Valley. Community members have been trained as facilitators who will work with the parents or guardians of young children, teaching them about child health, nutrition and how to stimulate the development of young minds in the home. The programme also aims to improve food security in households with young children.

Article by Highway Mail/Caxton Newspapers

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