The Peace Corps is excited to be a partner of Saving Mothers, Giving Life. We are particularly proud of the contributions Peace Corps Volunteers have made at the community level to promote the importance of essential maternal health services, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. - Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Saving Mothers’ first Annual Report, Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safe in Uganda and Zambia, demonstrates rapid progress towards reducing maternal mortality ratios in eight pilot districts.
In Uganda districts, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30%, while in facilities in Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 35%. The Report showcases the activities that have helped contribute to these gains, including:
Increasing the number of women delivering in health facilities by 62% and 35% in Uganda and Zambia, respectively
Enhancing women’s access to Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, by hiring and training skilled birth attendants;
Strengthening transportation and communications networks among communities and facilities, in addition to strengthening the supply chain for life-saving medicines and commodities; and
Expanding testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS for women and their newborns.

Download the full report

The Peace Corps is excited to be a partner of Saving Mothers, Giving Life. We are particularly proud of the contributions Peace Corps Volunteers have made at the community level to promote the importance of essential maternal health services, and we are thrilled to continue our collaboration to aggressively reduce maternal mortality. - Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet

Saving Mothers’ first Annual Report, Making Pregnancy and Childbirth Safe in Uganda and Zambia, demonstrates rapid progress towards reducing maternal mortality ratios in eight pilot districts.

In Uganda districts, the maternal mortality ratio has declined by 30%, while in facilities in Zambia, the maternal mortality ratio has decreased by 35%. The Report showcases the activities that have helped contribute to these gains, including:

  • Increasing the number of women delivering in health facilities by 62% and 35% in Uganda and Zambia, respectively
  • Enhancing women’s access to Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care, by hiring and training skilled birth attendants;
  • Strengthening transportation and communications networks among communities and facilities, in addition to strengthening the supply chain for life-saving medicines and commodities; and
  • Expanding testing and treatment for HIV/AIDS for women and their newborns.

Download the full report

maternal health global health Africa women HIV AIDS maternal mortality Zambia Uganda USAID


In Kenya’s rural communities the word “single” before mother turns something cherished into a burden. Most single mothers struggle to earn money, live far below the poverty line, and are often treated as pariahs in their communities. Despite these significant challenges, providing and caring for their children is their top priority. Peace Corps Volunteer, Teneasha Pierson, shares her thoughts after leading a malaria prevention training with the Elewana Education Project in Western Kenya.

Stomping Out Malaria Weekly Awesome in Kenya: Single Mothers Training

In Kenya’s rural communities the word “single” before mother turns something cherished into a burden. Most single mothers struggle to earn money, live far below the poverty line, and are often treated as pariahs in their communities. Despite these significant challenges, providing and caring for their children is their top priority. Peace Corps Volunteer, Teneasha Pierson, shares her thoughts after leading a malaria prevention training with the Elewana Education Project in Western Kenya.

Stomping Out Malaria Weekly Awesome in Kenya: Single Mothers Training

maternal health global health Africa Kenya gender issues motherhood

Peace Corps Volunteer Emily McKeone is working with her community members and local school teachers to bring safe, clean drinking water to three schools in Zambia to improve students’ health and boost school attendance. People in the communities currently travel long distances to get water that frequently comes from unprotected sources like local streams, which often leads to water-borne illnesses and sanitation concerns at school facilities.

By constructing borehole wells, the community’s water sources will be protected from contaminants and safe to drink. The additional water supply will also support school construction projects and enable students and teachers to plant gardens and orchards. The resulting produce will help raise money to maintain the boreholes.

“School attendance by students and teachers will improve from enhanced sanitation and clean drinking water,” said McKeone, who is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and has been living and working in Zambia since July 2012. “The schools currently have construction projects that have been delayed due to a lack of water, preventing completion of much needed classrooms, and these boreholes will allow for the completion of those projects.”

(Source: 1.usa.gov)

Zambia water education gender issues Africa global health clean water sanitation

No Sex for Fish - Redefining Gender Relationships in Lake Victoria, Kenya

Women living along the shores of Lake Victoria whose livelihood depends on trading fresh fish are exceptionally vulnerable to contracting HIV. In order to acquire fresh fish daily, the women are often pressured into having sex with the fishermen who supply the fish. It is not uncommon for the fishermen to maintain several such relationships simultaneously with women at different beaches where they land with their fish. As such, women fish traders are extremely susceptible to contracting HIV.

A couple of years ago, two Peace Corps Volunteers – Dominik Mucklow (an Education Volunteer, 2009-11) and Michael Geilhufe (a Community Economic Development Volunteer, 2010-12) – who lived near Lake Victoria decided to do something to help these women. With support from the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), they assisted a group of women fish traders to acquire their own fishing boats. The women then employed men to go fishing using these boats. This simple advancement allowed the women to be free from sexual exploitation in order to secure their fish supply.

A third Volunteer, Samantha Slater (a Community Economic Development Volunteer, 2011-13) just completed her service. Samantha dedicated her work to helping the women with the business aspects of operating the boats and their fish trade. The women have since obtained additional loans to purchase new nets or replace damaged nets. They were also taught how to keep sound financial records and manage the business well enough to be able to pay back their loans in a timely way. Recently-arrived Volunteer Lori Armstrong will continue working on good business practices with the women. The work that these volunteers initiated has generated significant interest in development circles, and there is now a clear push to expand this “No Sex For Fish” initiative to other beaches along Lake Victoria. With additional support, this simple initiative promises to completely re-write the gender relationships that rule Lake Victoria’s fishing industry today.

(Source: blog.aids.gov)

AIDS gender sexual exploitation PEPFAR Africa Kenya Lake Victoria community development economic development fishing global health small business development women

Find an HIV Testing Location Near You

usagov:

Today is National HIV Testing Day (NHTD). The goal of NHTD is to help spread awareness and encourage people to get tested for HIV.

Where to Start

HIV prevention starts with education. Check out the HIV/AIDS basics and factsheets to debunk any myths, learn how to reduce your risk, discover symptoms and find out how to get help. An important and simple step to taking control of your health is by getting tested for HIV. You can download the HIV Testing and Care Services Locator app (for Apple devices) or go online to find different test and health centers near you.

How to get Involved

You can help raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing by bringing one of the national campaigns to your community. You can join various national campaigns such as Testing Makes Us Stronger and Let’s Stop HIV Together that are supported by the Centers for Disease Control. On Twitter, use the hashtag #NHTD to show all of your followers that you are observing National HIV Testing Day. For more information and to learn more about events planned throughout the year please visit blog.aids.gov.

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In her first two years while living in Amparafaravola which is located in the Lac Alaotra region of Madagascar, Peace Corps Volunteer Teena Curry worked with a youth group to paint a mural depicting the malaria transmission cycle and the importance of sustained LLIN use. By the end of the event, 15 members of the youth group were trained in explaining the importance of LLIN use and how to properly care for mosquito nets and one or two performed sensitizations to community members while the others painted. The painting of the mural was combined with other community education events during the week of World Malaria Day including two neem cream demonstrations and wall of fame project that featured photos of families who hung their net correctly and self-reported having slept under it every night. Other secondary projects during her first two years of service included preparing the curriculum for a behavior change communication training for 16 community health workers which included techniques for behavior change messages related to malaria prevention activities.
That’s just a few things that Teena did as a PCV from 2010 – 2012, she extended her service until October 2013. Read more about her here!

In her first two years while living in Amparafaravola which is located in the Lac Alaotra region of Madagascar, Peace Corps Volunteer Teena Curry worked with a youth group to paint a mural depicting the malaria transmission cycle and the importance of sustained LLIN use. By the end of the event, 15 members of the youth group were trained in explaining the importance of LLIN use and how to properly care for mosquito nets and one or two performed sensitizations to community members while the others painted. The painting of the mural was combined with other community education events during the week of World Malaria Day including two neem cream demonstrations and wall of fame project that featured photos of families who hung their net correctly and self-reported having slept under it every night. Other secondary projects during her first two years of service included preparing the curriculum for a behavior change communication training for 16 community health workers which included techniques for behavior change messages related to malaria prevention activities.

That’s just a few things that Teena did as a PCV from 2010 – 2012, she extended her service until October 2013. Read more about her here!

(Source: stompoutmalaria.org)

Madagascar Africa global health malaria Peace Corps Volunteer malaria prevention behavior change commmunuty health

Not too long ago, Margaret Banda’s daughter had a dangerous rendezvous with malaria. Her newborn twins waited at home for her as she was rushed to the hospital with a high fever. Since then, Margaret has completed ANAMED (Action for Natural Medicine) training. Here, she is pounding morgina leaves into a powder for cooking which is essential when battling disease and infection.

Not too long ago, Margaret Banda’s daughter had a dangerous rendezvous with malaria. Her newborn twins waited at home for her as she was rushed to the hospital with a high fever. Since then, Margaret has completed ANAMED (Action for Natural Medicine) training. Here, she is pounding morgina leaves into a powder for cooking which is essential when battling disease and infection.

natural medicine World Malaria Day malaria malaria prevention global health Malawi Africa

Peace Corps Health Volunteer Alisa Langfords shares with ONE a story about a young boy in her village for World Malaria Day 




In the end, Justice was fine, but it turns out that he had contracted malaria. Malaria is a disease that kills nearly 650,000 people in Africa every year, most of them children under five. With limited immunities to the disease, young children are more likely to develop cerebral malaria, which can lead to severe developmental issues and even death.
But there are the “strong men” in my community who believe they have little to worry about. While Gifty and her family sleep under a bed net every night to protect against malaria, many people brush off its importance, saying it is too hot and they aren’t worried about malaria. After all, they’ve had it several times before, and they’ve survived.
But this is not always the case for the children. Many Ghanaians do not understand that if they are infected, a mosquito can bite them, and re-infect someone else, including someone vulnerable to malaria’s harsher effects. In short, Justice’s malaria came from somewhere, and it was probably an adult who didn’t use their net.

Peace Corps Health Volunteer Alisa Langfords shares with ONE a story about a young boy in her village for World Malaria Day

In the end, Justice was fine, but it turns out that he had contracted malaria. Malaria is a disease that kills nearly 650,000 people in Africa every year, most of them children under five. With limited immunities to the disease, young children are more likely to develop cerebral malaria, which can lead to severe developmental issues and even death.

But there are the “strong men” in my community who believe they have little to worry about. While Gifty and her family sleep under a bed net every night to protect against malaria, many people brush off its importance, saying it is too hot and they aren’t worried about malaria. After all, they’ve had it several times before, and they’ve survived.

But this is not always the case for the children. Many Ghanaians do not understand that if they are infected, a mosquito can bite them, and re-infect someone else, including someone vulnerable to malaria’s harsher effects. In short, Justice’s malaria came from somewhere, and it was probably an adult who didn’t use their net.

World Malaria Day Peace Corps Volunteer malaria malaria prevention child health global health bed nets ONECampaign

In honor of Malaria Month, 20 Peace Corps Volunteers from Sierra Leone rode their bicycles 55 miles, from Kamakwie to Panlap, as part of the Stomp Out Malaria Initiative. They stopped at villages along the way and did activities aimed at improving the villagers’ knowledge of malaria transmission, prevention, and treatment. To help spread the message, the volunteers wrote malaria-related slogans on white t-shirts.

In honor of Malaria Month, 20 Peace Corps Volunteers from Sierra Leone rode their bicycles 55 miles, from Kamakwie to Panlap, as part of the Stomp Out Malaria Initiative. They stopped at villages along the way and did activities aimed at improving the villagers’ knowledge of malaria transmission, prevention, and treatment. To help spread the message, the volunteers wrote malaria-related slogans on white t-shirts.

World Malaria Day malaria prevention Sierra Leone Africa global health

Angelina’s Smile



Angelina comes running up after school yelling ‘Sister Johanna, Sister Johanna!’. I smile and can’t help laugh as she looks up at me in her faded school dress. She smiles the biggest smile you’ve ever seen and grabs a stack of nets to carry on her head to help. We’re in the middle of a net distribution as part of Ghana Health Service’s ‘Roll Out Campaign’. 
As we distribute and hang net in every household, one per married couple and one for every two children, Angelina runs back and forth from where we store the nets, making the process go a little quicker. She’s one of my most favorite people in my village but her name can be deceiving. Asking for a coin to buy a water sachet because she’s thirsty, she comes back smacking on a piece of bubble gum. My counterpart George Atoanan and I try to scold her but end up laughing instead! Even though she’s devious, she our little helper for the day and puts a smile on our face.
I’ve visited with her family since the campaign and see that the treated mosquito nets are still hung and I can rest assured she’s sleeping safe every night. Because she’s healthy and malaria-free, she can continue to smile her mischievous smile every day.



- Peace Corps Health Volunteer Johanna Twiford

Angelina’s Smile

Angelina comes running up after school yelling ‘Sister Johanna, Sister Johanna!’. I smile and can’t help laugh as she looks up at me in her faded school dress. She smiles the biggest smile you’ve ever seen and grabs a stack of nets to carry on her head to help. We’re in the middle of a net distribution as part of Ghana Health Service’s ‘Roll Out Campaign’. 

As we distribute and hang net in every household, one per married couple and one for every two children, Angelina runs back and forth from where we store the nets, making the process go a little quicker. She’s one of my most favorite people in my village but her name can be deceiving. Asking for a coin to buy a water sachet because she’s thirsty, she comes back smacking on a piece of bubble gum. My counterpart George Atoanan and I try to scold her but end up laughing instead! Even though she’s devious, she our little helper for the day and puts a smile on our face.

I’ve visited with her family since the campaign and see that the treated mosquito nets are still hung and I can rest assured she’s sleeping safe every night. Because she’s healthy and malaria-free, she can continue to smile her mischievous smile every day.

- Peace Corps Health Volunteer Johanna Twiford

Stomp Out Malaria malaria malaria buzz World Malaria Day health Africa Ghana global health disease prevention