March 3, 2022- Public Health Pathways is happy to announce it has secured preliminary funding graciously provided by the Ashworth Charitable Trust, to pilot the Safe Motherhood in Lower-Income Emergency Settings (“SMiLES”) project.

“We align with the vision of the Ashworth Charitable Trust and are humbled to have their support to develop an intervention alongside local communities and stakeholders in South-West Cameroon to enable safer birthing practices in the area,”

Iman Hameed, PHP SMiLES strategic planning lead.

Through SMiLES, Public Health Pathways (“PHP”) aims to build local capacity, combining our global expertise with local excellence, working in partnership with the Welisane Foundation.

The most recent United Nations data in 2019 shows that Cameroon maternal mortality ratio is 529 per 100,000 live births (World Bank), – well over The Sustainable Development Goal of 70 per 100 000 live births (SDGs, 2021). Thus, maternal health in the region is a public health priority.

PHP supports the Welisane Foundation through co-designing a project to reduce maternal and child mortality in the conflict-affected Muyuka town and vicinities (South-West Cameroon). The challenges are acute for Muyuka from the ongoing Anglophone crisis which adds complexity. Because of the ongoing violence, there are “high numbers of internally displaced populations and at present over two-thirds of births occur in rural settings outside health facilities” Marc Serna, Programme Director, Reachout Cameroon 17 June 2021. Dr EKO, Medical Doctor with the UN Clinic Y’de, advised vulnerable displaced women giving birth in the community face a high risk of infections and haemorrhages at birth. 

SMiLES’ long term goal is to provide safe delivery kits and design community training for use of kits to enable women in communities to self-administer or assist mothers during delivery to reduce the associated risk of delivering outside of a health facility.

The award from the Ashworth Charitable Trust will be used to support the Welisane Foundation in Cameroon to collect data from the community and develop a pilot. SMiLES aims to involve the community to co-develop expert-informed training that will positively impact over one hundred trainees in the area through:

  • Awareness of warning signs during childbirth outside of a health facility
  • Mitigation of incorrect/harmful practices during such events
  • Provision and correct use of safe delivery kits to reduce risk of haemorrhage and post-partum infection when delivering in the community.

The SMiLES project team would like to thank the Ashworth Charitable Trust for its belief in PHP to support strengthening local capacity to reduce maternal and child mortality in Cameroon.

“This initial funding will go a long way to plant a firm foundation for this project and garner more support towards its successful implementation”

Founder of the Welisane Foundation, Welisane Mokwe Nkeng.

This picture was taken at the start of the SMiLES project in October 2020. From top right to left and down, Michael Baser, Theo Richardson-Gool, Iman Hameed, Charlotte Bexson, Jade Robinson, Welisane Mokwe Nkeng, Dr. Martina Baye, Olawale Adeniyi.

PHP believe in home-grown and home driven solutions. The expertise of our charitable organisation is cross-generational and multi-expertise, with members from 25 countries worldwide. In addition to the SMiLES project, PHP provides design thinking training for young people and media contact to promote health.

With special thanks to the PHP SMiLES team for their dedication and guidance: Boris Mbia, Camila Carbone, Iman Hameed, Jade Robinson, Mariam Jiwani, Nkengfua Blaise, Theo Richardson-Gool.

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