"Omeed-e-kodak" Hope of the babies: An innovative approach empowering women to knit baby sweaters and hats and use mobile phones to increase the numbers of antenatal care visits, births by skilled attendants, postpartum visits and birth registration
Rationale: Maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity are high in Afghanistan. Rates of antenatal care, skilled attendant at birth and postpartum care are low. The Afghan Mortality Survey 2010 found that the reasons for not using health services often related of not understanding the need for care. Therefore the links between communities and health providers and facilities need to be strengthened.
Approach: The project - to be carried out in two provinces of Afghanistan - will strengthen those links by empowering local women's groups to knit sets of baby sweaters and hats, to keep the newborn warm, as incentives to be provided to those babies whose mother has attended antenatal care and delivered with a skilled birth attendant. The knitters will also receive health education and have mobile phones to help the pregnant women and postpartum mothers to connect with health providers. The mobile phone will also be used for taking a picture of the baby wearing the new outfit. The picture will be the incentive to be given during the postpartum visit. The project will be linked with another one using mobile phones for birth registration.
Objective and Impact: increased numbers of antenatal care visits, births by skilled birth attendant, postpartum visits and birth registrations.
Innovation: Empowering women's groups to link communities and health facilities and providers through locally made in-kind incentives which are directly beneficial to a newborn, and using mobile phones for other incentives (photo and the birth certificate) which give an identity for a child.