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From a woman's pregnancy to her child's 2nd birthday there are 1,000 days. This time is important for setting the foundations for the rest of life. The support and education a mother receives during these 1,000 days can have a very real impact on the care she gives, influencing how her child grows and develops.

Many expectant and new mothers do not have access to antenatal or postnatal care. This may be because it is unavailable or a long distance away. Additionally, women may be unaware of care options or feel they cannot attend because of their social or caste status.

Without correct support, women are unaware of how to properly care for themselves or their new-born. This significantly increases the risk of maternal and infant mortality. Having a poor start in early life has lasting effects into later life.

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Operation Mercy Afghanistan developed the Birth Life-Saving Skills (BLiSS) program in conjunction with Community Development Consultants in 2005. BLiSS is a health education program focusing on pregnancy, birth and new-born care. It includes 17 lessons designed to reach an illiterate audience with role plays, stories, picture cards, and models that help the participants to learn the material and make decisions based on that knowledge.

The aim of BLiSS program is to reduce infant and maternal mortality and morbidity rates in Afghanistan by educating women, men, and their families, about pregnancy and birth and appropriate antenatal care, as well as linking communities with health care providers. Read how the training program saved a life here.

Lake Tanganyika

All along the Zambian shoreline of Lake Tanganyika are people living in remote villages, which are inaccessible by road. Access to health care is very limited and involves traveling many hours by boat to the Government's Mpulungu Health Centre. Our partners recognised that the best way to serve these communities would be to take a medical team and conduct regular clinics offering health services which include health education and antenatal services, within their village. To find out more about the impact of health care to Lake T read: A Matter of Life and Death.


RED International's partners have projects in different countries offering education, support and services to mothers and fathers to make the most of this 1,000 day window of opportunity.

In addition to teaching on basic health and preventable diseases, Community Health Workers (CHWs) in India spend approx. 10% of their time giving education and support to expectant and new mothers.

To enhance this health education role, we have developed a set of visual aids for CHWs to use which focus on pregnancy, child birth and care for the new-born. We recognise that it is vital for women to receive antenatal and postnatal education and support during the 1,000 days.

Each CHW will receive a set of teaching aids and be trained on how to use them. We believe that the materials together with training, will equip CHWs to reach a much broader group of women in the communities in which they are already working. To find out more about the launch of the antenatal resources click here.

If you would like to give to RED International and/or receive updates so that we can help support and educate mothers and others at this critical stage of life,
please follow the links below.