To the west of Sumatra, and north of the Mentawai, lies the remote island of Nias – where maternal and infant mortality rates are well above national figures. Challenges include a lack of community health services, availability of clean water, access to nutritious foods, and economic opportunities. Poor accessibility to low quality health care is the major cause of high maternal and child deaths.
SurfAid’s EHOWU Programme (Enhance Health of Women and Under Fives), which served a population of 9,229 people, achieved proven results in reducing maternal and infant mortality rates. SurfAid has helped to reduce maternal deaths from 8 annually to zero for three years in a row. During the same timeframe, the annual mortality rate for children under five has all but disappeared with only one death reported. That is down from an average of 22 per year at the start of the program in 2012.
SurfAid’s current follow-up programme EHOWU2 builds upon and expands the successful approach in 37 villages (30,498 people) in the sub-districts of Hiliduho and Gido; increasing the health status of mothers and children and the quality of health services; with gains sustained through income-generating activities