By Coumba Betty Diallo; Edited by Katie Hackett
In Aminetou’s community, faith leaders are getting involved in something that was once deemed only a woman’s concern: child and maternal health.
Imam Mohamed Ould Salim is one such leader. After going through a training with World Vision, he started using his own platform to raise awareness in the community.
Every Friday, he preaches at the mosque on topics like good hygiene, childhood diseases and the importance of vaccinations and prenatal care for women. Every 15 days, he goes door-to-door in the village, accompanied by local health workers, to counsel families.
“I am engaging in discussions with the whole families,” says the imam, “Not only to the mother because obviously, the health of children and the mother will first pass through a good involvement of all members of the family.”
Aminetou is mom to three children, and her family benefitted from Imam Mohamed’s visits.
“At the beginning, my husband and I were a little skeptical because we did not understand how the assistance of an imam could allow us to have a child in better health,” says Aminetou. The couple had lost a child to illness a few years before.
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Talks with the imam and health workers showed Aminetou that the whole community could be involved in the health of women and children. She learned about the importance of sticking to the immunization schedule, and saw that men like her husband had a role to play in their wives’ health.
“After having seen a remarkable improvement on the health of our own children, and on the health of the children within village in general,” she says, “we sincerely admire the work of the imam and his team.”