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New Campaign from BRAC USA to Save Mothers' Lives in High-Risk Countries
Date:5/9/2013

le, but as an active participant in her own well-being. Our goal is an environment for safe childbirth with an empowered woman at the center, able to make the right choices for herself and her newborn child," says Dr. Kaosar Afsana, director of BRAC's Health, Nutrition and Population Program.

BRAC's approach to health relies heavily on community health promoters -- women recruited from the communities where they serve as local knowledge resources, answering basic questions and connecting neighbors to more sophisticated medical services when appropriate. Rather than earning a salary from BRAC, promoters act as an entrepreneurial franchise network, earning a small profit from the sales of BRAC-approved basic health products and services covering common ailments that can be treated at home. Each promoter may cover up to 250 households, visiting 10-15 households a day.

BRAC has trained almost 100,000 women as community health promoters in Bangladesh, and is now adapting and scaling up similar networks in Uganda, Tanzania, South Sudan, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. Training includes an initial 10- to 18-day intensive course, plus mandatory one- or two-day monthly refresher sessions for as long as promoters choose to remain part of the program.

To address maternal health, promoters receive additional training on ante-natal care, attending home births, and post-natal care. In so doing they also gain the the opportunity to earn extra income from an incentive-based pay system designed to encourage earliest possible identification and registration of pregnancies, and reliable reporting on key ante- and post-natal milestones and related complications.

To complement the efforts of promoters and mobilize the community around better maternal
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