Teresa Orsini Maternity Clinic, Cova Lima
Health and Women Empowerment Project
Timor Leste remains one of the poorest nations in the world. Maucatar is a remote mountainous area where there is severe malnutrition and high mortality rates. There is limited access to clean water, sanitation, and health services. High mortality rates and malnutrition leading to stunted growth are prevalent amongst the people of Maucatar. Insufficient protein in the local diet, lack of clean water and poor sanitation have been identified as the main contributing factors, which have the most detrimental effects on pregnant women and children.
Mercy Works is supporting a nutrition project, in partnership with the Hospitaller Sisters of Mercy, to support individual and families achieve optimal health by focusing on a holistic approach to achieve best health outcomes for its constituents through the Teresa Orsini Maternity Clinic (TOMC).
Over the next two year, we aim to help 22 villages across the Cova Lima district, improve access to quality health services through community outreach and increased health knowledge to reduce preventable diseases and improve hygiene practices.
18 remote villages will be provided with much-needed health services through TOMC’s mobile clinic which includes treatment of minor illnesses, screening and surveillance for those at high risk, education on STD’s and HIV and rapid laboratory tests. The project also trains village health volunteers to monitor the communities in between mobile clinic visits.
TOMC also provides holistic care to malnourished children and antenatal and postnatal mothers through clinical care. Severely malnourished children and mothers are provided with protein and vegetables for improved diet and nutrition to reduce the incidence of malnutrition in children under the age of 5. Supporting families with malnourished children with chicken raising and vegetable gardening provides them ongoing access to eggs and vegetable throughout the year. Eggs are given to those who visit the Teresa Orsini Maternity Clinic. This dietary supplement is aimed at increasing the protein levels of these women, and their children.
Here we educate high school and primary students in dental hygiene, general hygiene and proper nutrition. Two schools without clean water will be supported to install water tanks to improve students hygiene practices.
We also aim to empower communities to lead their own development by mobilising a team of community members and leaders to coordinate the implementation of various activities.
Approximately 1600 participants will be supported to earn an income from farming, gardening, chicken raising and other livelihood activities, with women self-help groups being formed to support them in income generating activities and build their capacity to manage their own development.
The other focus is to supply chickens to a large number of families in 22 villages in the surrounding area. As the chickens lay eggs, the villagers have access to a regular and ongoing source of protein to supplement their diet.
Mercy Works is pleased to be involved in this nutrition project in partnership with the Hospitaller Sisters of Mercy in Timor-Leste.