West Bank and Gaza: Moving from Treatment to Prevention - The Story of Umm Mohammed and the Zababdeh Well-Baby Clinic in JeninThis mother and her child have benefited from the Zababdeh Well-Baby Clinic in Jenin, one of more than 63 Hanan-supported clinics. Umm Mohammed, a new mother living in the West Bank, was concerned when her 11-month-old son Mohammed became ill. "My dear Mohammad is my first child and I worried a lot about him," she said. Umm Mohammed brought Mohammed to see the doctor at the Zababdeh Clinic in Jenin District where he was diagnosed with and treated for an acute respiratory tract infection.
Umm Mohammed is one of more than 300,000 women who have benefited from Hanan, the USAID-funded Mother and Child Health Care Project, which is dedicated to improving the health of Palestinian women of reproductive age and children under 5.
USAID funds Hanan health promotion activities in 53 communities. Topics include understanding the danger signs during the first six days after delivery; appropriate care for newborns; growth monitoring; understanding the danger signs of pregnancy; and breast-feeding exclusively for the first six months. USAID also supports Hanan's partnerships with 63 primary health care clinics in Hebron, Southern West Bank, Jenin, Northern West Bank, Gaza, and North Gaza to improve access and quality of mother and child health. Hanan will continue to expand its community and clinic partnerships throughout the year.
Umm Mohammed is deeply concerned about the health of her family, but didn't know to bring her child to the clinic when he was well. "I was told about the well-baby clinic when I came when Mohammad was sick", says Umm Mohammad. "One week later, I came with my child to the well-baby clinic. The community health workers checked his weight and height and told me how my child is growing and alerted me to stress on Mohammad's nutrition, to give him balanced meals. Mohammad was not eating most of the food I offered him. The community health workers counseled me on how to feed my child. I was told later that Mohammad has anemia. The doctor gave me the needed treatment and told me how to give it to my child."
Hanan trains clinic staff in well-baby nutrition counseling, immunization, growth monitoring, anemia screening, infection prevention, ante- and post-natal care, and delivery services. "For the last six months, I have been working hard with the clinic team to provide high quality well-baby clinic services at Zababdeh," says Tasneem Atatrah, a 27 year-old physician and program officer with Hanan. "I worked with the general practitioner and with the staff to raise the awareness of the parents who come with sick children about the importance of well-baby visits." Hanan also works with clinic staff to track community usage and service benefits.
"The clinic staff were cooperative," says Tasneem, "after the training they began to ask women to come back for well-baby visits. They started to detect a lot of cases of anemia and other health problems, and began to realize the importance of addressing the causes of common health issues, rather than just the symptoms."
The success of the well-baby clinic in that specific clinic also caught the attention of the PMRS district manager Dr Jamil. he strongly supported training the existing doctor to increase the clinic's capacity to provide long-term well-baby services. These include growth monitoring, nutrition counseling and anemia screening.
Umm Mohammad was so pleased with the services that she told her relatives and neighbors, which prompted some to bring in their own children. "I am grateful to the physician and the community health workers for the care they provided for Mohammad and me," says Umm Mohammed. "I am very thankful for this help from the clinic."
Hanan Mother, Child Health & Nutrition Project [RFA No.294-2004-015]
is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID)
and implemented by JSI Research & Training Institute, Inc. in
conjunction with American Near East Refugee Aid (ANERA) and Emerging Markets Group, Ltd. (EMG).