The Gambia River runs through the center of this small country of 1.5 million. Yet only one-sixth of the land is arable, used mainly to produce The Gambia’s main cash crop: peanuts. Gambia is also marked by high maternal mortality rate and low contraceptive prevalence, with only 10% of married women using contraceptives.
In an effort to improve these health indicators, The Gambia is one of 21 West African countries included in EngenderHealth’s Action for West Africa Region—Reproductive Health (AWARE-RH) Project. From its launch in 2003 until its close in 2008, this USAID-funded project worked in The Gambia to:
Expanding Contraceptive Options
Through the AWARE-RH Project, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), EngenderHealth worked in The Gambia to:
- Expand IUD use by providing health clinics with IUD insertion and removal kits; and
- Train health clinic staff to use contraceptive logistic management, a system designed to help ensure a consistent supply of contraceptives.
Making Motherhood Safer
Complications of pregnancy and childbirth are the leading cause of death and disability for childbearing women in The Gambia. To change this, EngenderHealth worked in The Gambia to:
- Train clinicians to recognize and treat pre-eclampsia and eclampsia
- Also, to expand access to magnesium sulfate, an effective, safe, and low-cost medication that can treat pre-eclampsia and eclampsia.
- Develop a new treatment protocol (sulfadoxine pyrimethamine) to prevent malaria in pregnant women;
- Train health care workers in HIV, malaria, and tuberculosis treatment;
- Encourage The Gambia’s Ministry of Health to introduce Artemisin combination therapy to treat malaria;
- Introduce self-assessment tools for health clinics to conduct and monitor malaria control and prevention efforts.