Democratic Republic of Congo: Mothers Guide to Healthy Lives

Jeanne is a 33-year-old farmer and mother to six children. She lives in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), but she is like every mother in the world, and nothing is more important to her than keeping her beautiful children healthy.

When ADRA met with Jeanne, she was pregnant with her sixth child. Each of her first five children had to be hospitalized for malnutrition or illness, some multiple times.

ADRA works with new mothers to teach them the importance of nutrition, breast-feeding, vaccinations, and other crucial health priorities.

The health history of her first five children made Jeanne a perfect match for an ADRA program focusing on new mother and baby health.

ADRA introduced Jeanne to a “leader mother,” a local mother who has been trained to help others. This leader mother encouraged her to seek regular prenatal care. While this is standard procedure in more developed countries, regular pregnancy visits aren’t as common in DRC where Jeanne lives, and she never had care for her first five pregnancies.

Jeanne learned about the importance of breast-feeding immediately and exclusively, which is especially crucial for new babies in regions where malnutrition is a common concern. Once her sixth baby was born, ADRA began supplying Jeanne with rations of fortified porridge so that she remained nourished enough to supply her baby with enough milk to thrive.

“This one is my sixth birth, and my son Armand does not fall sick often. For me, it is a miracle, because I have never experienced that since becoming a mother,” says Jeanne.

Her leader mother also taught Jeanne about simple practices for good health, such as washing hands regularly, making sure her children are vaccinated, and providing nutrition for young ones.

After experiencing so much trauma in the health of her first five children, Jeanne finds it very exciting to have a healthy baby. “With Armand, things are very different; we are at the eighth month without hospitalization,” Jeanne shares. “I am convinced that it is through the application of these teachings brought to me by the leader mother and consumption of porridge that I and my baby are doing well.”

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About ADRA

The Adventist Development and Relief Agency is the international humanitarian arm of the Seventh-day Adventist Church serving in 118 countries. Its work empowers communities and changes lives around the globe by providing sustainable community development and disaster relief. ADRA’s purpose is to serve humanity so all may live as God intended.

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