2018 Autumn Appeal: An equal chance at a healthy life

Worldwide, at least one new or expectant mother dies every minute from causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. 


What’s more, 99% of all the women who die, live in developing countries - highlighting the glaring inequalities in healthcare across parts of the world. 
 
More than half of these women are in sub-Saharan Africa. And they are all a part of families like yours, mine - and Lucas'.
 
49-year-old Lucas Omulo (pictured with his son, Mark) lives in Kibera, Nairobi*. He's an artist, working with bones and brass to make jewellery, which he sells mainly to tourists. But his real passion is his community. That's why he trained as a Community Health Worker and a 'Male Champion' with Amref Health Africa.  
 
 
Smiling Lucas Omulo, Male Champion in Kibera, with his baby, Mark, on his knee
 
 
In 2003, the unimaginable happened to Lucas. He lost his family and his world was turned upside down. His wife, together with their baby, died, when she suffered complications during her pregnancy. Skilled health workers were not there to help.
 
Today, Lucas has remarried and lives with his wife, Eunice and their one-year-old baby, Mark. Earlier this year, Lucas talked to Amref UK about his work in the community.  
 
"The role of Male Champions is to talk with men to encourage them to help their wives and be involved in the pregnancy," he says. "We talk about all kinds of health issues: how a man can assist his wife when she is pregnant, for example. A man can bring something to the table. After the birth, a man should know the date for appointments. Because sometimes a wife can forget, women are very busy!"
 

For healthcare to one day be equitable, we must first be recognised as equal to one another. Everyone, everywhere - simply by virtue of being human - should have the right to a healthy life.

 
Yet in many of the communities where Amref works, women need their partners to agree to them attending an ante-natal appointment, or to help decide where they give birth. 
 
If men and boys are equipped to support their wives, mothers, sisters and daughters through pregnancy, childbirth and beyond, then we are one step closer to ensuring that every child has the best possible start in life. If we share responsibility for our family's health, and if we have options to choose from, we can make better, informed decisions. That's why we need to train more men like Lucas, because together, we can move forward so much faster. 
 
Lucas explained: "You are asking people to change their behaviours and maybe even their beliefs, so they need to trust you. And I can see it working, our patience is paying off: when we go to households nowadays, there are no more deaths in the community."
 

Donate today and help train another man, or woman, like Lucas.

Together, we can prevent another family from going through what Lucas did.  


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* Kibera is the African continent's largest informal settlement.