|Don Ramon, singing with the group from Las Crucitas as part of a training session|
In many parts of Honduras, family health is still considered the responsibility of women. Men do not usually get involved ― nor are they expected to ― in the care of pregnant women, and children. Many women and children continue to suffer from ill-health and limited access to health services.
Monitor and traditional birth attendant, Don Ramon, singing with the group from the community of Las Crucitas as part of a training session.
But as the result of a CIDA-funded project in the departments (provinces) of Copan and Santa Barbara, many Honduran men have started taking on new roles, as active and engaged participants and advocates of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH).
Don Ramon is one of these men. Based in his rural village, he works as a monitor for the national health strategy and as a traditional birth attendant. When his sister died giving birth, he had to raise her daughter as his own. When his own wife gave birth to their children, the option of going to a birthing clinic did not exist, and so he learned to assist during the home delivery. Don Ramon is challenging the views on gender roles held by most people in his community.
Reaching MDGs 4 and 5 in the Americas
Steady progress has been made towards achieving Millennium Development Goal (MDG) 4 in the Americas. According to the United Nations, between 1990 and 2009, deaths of children under the age of five decreased by almost half―44 percent. However, children from the poorest 20 percent of households are at almost three times the risk of dying before their fifth birthday than children in the most affluent 20 percent of households.
Maternal death is also a major issue ― progress towards reaching MDG 5 has been slow. In Honduras, the number of maternal deaths remains high at 110 deaths for every 100,000 live births according to UNICEF.
With CIDA's support, the Canadian Red Cross in partnership with the Honduran Red Cross, the Honduran Ministry of Health, several municipal organizations and local communities began a project to improve MNCH in 2006.
Called REDES, meaning networks in Spanish, the project aims to strengthen networks in the community, support national strategies for MNCH, strengthen the health system and increase the participation of men during pregnancy, birth and post-partum activities. This will help Honduras achieve Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. The project contributes to CIDA's priority theme of securing the future of children and youth and improving maternal, newborn and child health.
Read more here.