In May 2015, Bui Thi Thuan was four months pregnant with her second child. But the young mother from Mai Chau, Vietnam was not confident that her pregnancy would be successful. “I was very anxious because my economic condition did not allow me to have nutritious meals, and I didn’t have much knowledge on how to take care of myself during pregnancy,” Thuan said.
Thuan’s story is not unusual in Mai Chau. Many women in the community face similar problems when it comes to medical care. They are unable to afford proper healthcare services and medical workers are at times not professionally trained, resulting in a lack of knowledge on child care, pregnancy and childbirth. World Vision decided to establish a health club in the Doi Hamlet, where women and caregivers are trained in maternity health and child care.
Thuan immediately joined the club. Her thirst for learning and desire to ensure her children grow up healthy and strong is evident in the active role she plays in her community. "Since joining the club, I learnt how to eat properly, get adequate rest, avoid heavy tasks, and the importance of coming to the health station for the periodical prenatal check-up. Also, health workers and other members frequently visit my home to encourage me and my family,” she said. Club members also report any worrying issues to community health workers so they can quickly intervene.
On 1 October 2015, Thuan gave birth to a healthy daughter that weighed 3.5 kg. Unlike her first delivery, the proud mother delivered her baby girl at the community health centre with the guidance of the medical staffs. Since then, club members regularly visit Thuan’s home to share knowledge about breast-feeding, vaccination and healthy diet.
Mr. Ly Van Thanh, who heads a commune health station, says that in order to reduce malnutrition amongst children, mothers must be well cared for throughout their pregnancy. This means changing their perceptions and increasing knowledge through training, education and sharing of expertise. Today, Thuan’s daughter is a healthy three-month-old. It is always a joyous occasion for the Doi Hamlet health club whenever they welcome an additional little member.
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