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Humanity & Inclusion became the new name of Handicap International on Jan. 24.

Project Update

Investing in Maternal and Child Health in Togo

Photo: Renovation of the pharmaceutical storage unit at Tabligbo district hospital, Togo.

HI is improving health facilities for pregnant women and newborns in the maritime region of Togo. Thanks to these interventions and others, neonatal mortality is expected to fall by 20% by the end of 2019.

In Togo, the majority of pregnant women and newborn babies do not have access to appropriate healthcare during pregnancy, delivery and the early years. Sadly, the consequences can be fatal—the infant mortality rate in Togo is high, particularly in the maritime region, and 398 in 100,000 mothers die as a result of complications during childbirth.

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Currently, many women have to travel long distances to reach the nearest health facility. And when they arrive, they find expertise and access to medication is often unavailable. As a result, women are deterred from attending pre-natal appointments, reducing the chances for health actors to provide basic care, and to detect any concerns with how the baby is developing or how the mother’s health is faring.

Funding from the French Development Agency (AFD) has allowed HI to invest in the renovation of ten health centers in the maritime region of Togo. Pictured is the pharmaceutical storage unit at Tabligbo district hospital, where simple improvements to the security and quality of the building allow the hospital to store and prescribe all necessary medicines to support the maternity unit.

Across the ten centers, many different adaptations have been made, from increasing the number of toilets and making them accessible to people with disabilities, to increasing the number of maternity rooms to 31, up from 3. The project also provides training for health center staff to ensure that all essential maternity care can be correctly administered.

The project is due to run until 2019, at which point HI aims for neonatal mortality in the maritime region to drop by 20% and maternal mortality by 25%.