The Order of St John and Johanniter Austria work together to support maternal and child health in Zambia

Brussels, Belgium, 14. November 2017

Johanniter Austria and the Order of St John have worked closely together to secure a development grant from the City of Vienna for the St John’s Mother and Baby Programme in Zambia. The grant will support St John’s project for 15 months until early 2019 and improve the lives of 5,000 beneficiaries.

St John International launched the St John Mother and Child Africa programme in 2013 in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, which have some of the highest maternal and newborn mortality rates in the world.

All pictures by the Order of St John

St John is currently running its successful programme to improve timely and essential care for pregnant women and new mothers with infants. Over the last three years, the Zambian Association of St John already reached more than 8,000 expectant and new mothers as well as 14,000 community members with crucial interventions and health education.

The grant from the City of Vienna will enable St John to expand its activities into the new township of Kayosha. The township is a very poor rural area only 35 kilometres from the capital of Lusaka. The project collaborates with the local health centre which serves the local population of 15,000 people who live in the 46 villages. St John will give the centre a basic package of support consisting of equipment and furniture to be used for health services for pregnant women and new mothers during and after the project.

The health workers are taught maternal and newborn healthcare practices for mothers and babies, including nutrition and antenatal check-ups, preparing for labour, and sexual and reproductive healthcare for young people.

St John will also train volunteers who will then make home visits to women and help them to plan for safe deliveries. Pregnant women and their partners will learn how to recognise danger signs and what to do in an emergency. Additional health education will reach future mothers and fathers, including both adults and adolescents, before their first or next pregnancy so they can increase their chances of enjoying safe parenthood and having healthier children.

The grant secured for the project in Zambia is an excellent example of how cooperation between JOIN enterprises can improve the lives of beneficiaries on the ground.