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11 things you might not know about Healthy Mums Healthy Kids

11 facts about our work in Matam, Senegal.

By Matthew Williams

Sep 18 2017

Senegal, the West African country looking out towards the Atlantic, is known for many things. From its surfing to its sumptuous food, the country bordering Guinea-Bissau, Gambia, Guinea, Mauritania and Mali has one of the most stable economies in West Africa.

However, Senegal still suffers from high rates of poverty, unemployment and around half of the population lives below the poverty line. The country also struggles with high rates of maternal and infant mortality, malaria and other diseases which Action Against Hunger has been responding to, most notably in the region of Matam which is particularly affected by these multiple challenges which continue to plague the country. 

As a result, Action Against Hunger has been expanding its programmes and activities outside Dakar (the country's capital) and recently launched new initiatives in Matam, where Action Against Hunger's #HealthyMumsHealthyKids appeal is focused on helping mums, mums-to-be and their kids grow up strong and healthy. What’s more, donate to the appeal this Autumn and your support will go twice as far because the UK Government will match your donation. Donations will be doubled up to a total of £5 million, to help our work in Matam.

Here are 11 facts you might not know about Matam and Action Against Hunger's #HealthyMumsHealthyKids appeal:

 

1. WHERE MATAM IS

Matam is located along the border of Mauritania in northern Senegal. The arid region is home to more than 600,000 people and hugs the Senegal River where families rely on subsistence agriculture and nomadic herding to make a living. 

 

2. ITS FOOD

Senegal is strongly influenced by North African, French and Portuguese cuisine. In Matam, pregnant mums need at least five healthy meals a day including foods that are rich in folic acid, iron and other nutrients to support their baby's growth and brain development. Their diets also consist of couscous, fish, rice, fruit and vegetables. As a healthy diet is so important, especially during preganancy, Action Against Hunger is helping and advising mums on good nutrition and providing the information required so mums make sure their bodies can cope with the pregnancy, its increased demands for nutrients and energy and the eventual birth of the baby.

 

3. OUR HISTORY IN SENEGAL

Since 2012, Action Against Hunger has been in Senegal. We aided already vulnerable populations deeply affected by the Sahel food crisis, an emergency which left 800,000 Senegalese at risk of malnutrition. Action Against Hunger responded to the crisis by establishing nutrition programmes across the country.  

 

4. HOW MANY PEOPLE WE'VE ALREADY HELPED

In 2016, Action Against Hunger helped 136,278 people! This included 81,078 receiving nutritional support, 13,600 people being given access to safe water and sanitation and 41,600 people gaining economic self-sufficiency through our programmes.

 

5. WE HELP MIDWIVES TO HELP MUMS

Mums and mums-to-be across Matam are treated for malnutrition at health posts such as Soubala (pictured below) where midwives such as Madame Seck help them give birth to healthy babies. 

 

6. A BABY'S FIRST 1,000 DAYS

The first 1,000 days between a woman's pregnancy and her child's second birthday have a profound impact on a child's ability to grow, learn and thrive. This is why it is critical that women and children get the right nutrition during this time. 

 

7. HEALTHCARE & MALNUTRITION

Children such as little 18 month old Abdoulaye, pictured here, are treated for malnutrition at intensive care units in Matam hospital. Healthcare for children is free of charge and Action Against Hunger covers all training, staff and treatment costs. 

 

8. ACCESS TO EDUCATION

With a lack of access to adequate nutrition and reproductive health services, Action Against Hunger are helping to train staff and volunteers so that schools, community teenage programmes and health facilities are equipped so that teenagers, mums and mums-to-be have the information they need so that they may have good nutrition and reduce the chances of their children being malnourished. 

 

9. HOW MANY MORE PEOPLE WE'LL HELP

Action Against Hunger's #HealthyMumsHealthyKids appeal aims to support over 66,000 teenagers in Matam, improving both their nutritional and reproductive heath care knowledge and practices. They will also benefit from better access to family planning services including birth spacing, good nutrition practices and delaying pregnancies.

 

10. HOW LOVE FOOD GIVE FOOD HELPS

Hundreds of restaurants across the UK will be supporting us and raising funds for the #HealthyMumsHealthyKids appeal in Matam through Love Food Give Food, our annual flagship fundraiser. 

 

11. HOW YOU CAN SUPPORT THE APPEAL

Finally, donations made to the #HealthyMumsHealthyKids appeal will be doubled by the UK Government, so that we can help more children survive and grow up strong, healthy and, above all, happy. 

 

SUPPORT #HEALTHYMUMSHEALTHYKIDS

This Autumn, you can help mothers be better informed on how to provide good nutrition during pregnancy and in the first years of their children’s lives so that they can grow up strong. By making a donation and supporting our #HealthyMumsHealthyKids appeal, you'll be helping mums and mums-to-be get the vital support they need to help their children survive and thrive.

Don't forget, your support will go twice as far because the UK Government will match your donation, so more children can have a healthy start in life. 

A mother holds her baby at a health post in Matam, Senegal, where action against hunger is providing nutritional advice and treatment to young mums and mums-to-be so their children can grow up healthy and strong.
A mother holds her baby at a health post in Matam, Senegal

Donate Now

Donate to Healthy Mums Healthy Kids this Autumn and the UK Government will double your donation.

Photos: A.Parsons/i-images for Action Against Hunger and L.Arango for Action Against Hunger