ADRA Provides Maternal Care, Health-care Training
in China’s Tibetan Plateau

Birth complications, infant deaths decline over three-year period. (Posted October 25, 2012)


Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA) International is helping to improve prenatal and infant health across the Tibetan Plateau in western China through its training of volunteer health workers.

ADRA introduced the Community Health Worker program in the Zaduo prefecture three years ago, and agency officials say they’ve noticed pregnant women are now more open to receiving health examinations.

FACE TO FACE: A community health worker in western China’s Tibetan Plateau meets with local villagers to conduct basic health screenings. [PHOTO: ADRA International]
Previously, an older woman in the village would inform the health worker of the women who were pregnant, which was thought of as a private issue. Now that villagers have seen a decrease in birth complications and infant death, expectant mothers seek out health workers for exams.

“We’ve seen a change in the mind-set of women and their 

husbands in seeking out the community health worker, asking them to be present at the birth and inviting them postbirth,” said Christina Hudgins, ADRA’s director of constituency development.

Health care in the Tibetan Plateau is otherwise limited. Nearly all villagers are yak-herding nomads living in one-room homes throughout the winter in subzero temperatures. From May to August most head into the mountains where their yaks can graze.

Community health workers, all of whom are female volunteers, continually receive training and visit expectant mothers in their homes each month.

Officials from ADRA China said they plan to triple the number of women and newborns receiving services in the next five years. ADRA has worked in the region since 2004.

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