Amy MacIver, 206.302.4522, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Matola, Mozambique, April 17, 2013—BHP Billiton, a leading global resources company, and PATH, a global health nonprofit organization, announced the launch of the Window of Opportunity project, which aims to improve health and early childhood development in Mozambique’s Maputo Province, with a special emphasis in Boane District. The project is part of a larger initiative that started in 2011 and includes four districts in the neighbouring Republic of South Africa.
Mother and child mortality rates have declined in recent decades in Mozambique. The country has allocated resources to tackle these problems and has adopted policies that reinforce the importance of coordinating early child health and development services. Local capacity to implement these policies has improved significantly, and strengthening engagement of communities around integrated child health, nutrition, and development is increasing. Still, large numbers of pregnant women and children continue to die from preventable causes—including diarrhea, malnutrition, malaria, and pneumonia. Additional efforts are needed to achieve the Millennium Development Goals, of which Mozambique is a signatory.
Pregnancy and early childhood—especially the time between birth and two years of age—represent a critical window of opportunity to shape the long-term physical, cognitive, and emotional health and development of children.
The Window of Opportunity project will focus on improving antenatal and newborn care, infant nutrition, child development practices, and the quality of health services planning and provision in Maputo Province, especially in Boane District. It also will help foster community engagement for improved mother and child services.
The project teams will work with government and civil society partners to strengthen health and development systems, improve the quality and range of clinical and community-based services, and improve behaviors amongst caregivers and communities that positively affect the health and development of young children.
“At PATH, our projects foster relationships that work toward a world where health is within reach for everyone,” said Dr. Jacqueline Sherris, PATH’s vice president for Global Programs. “We believe that by aligning with the government of Mozambique’s policies and vision for integrated child health and development, harnessing BHP Billiton’s commitment to sustainable community development, and partnering closely with communities, the Window of Opportunity project will drive and support change that can be sustained for current and future generations.”
The Window of Opportunity project will channel resources to build local capacity, strengthen local ownership, and ensure sustainability, contributing to Mozambique efforts and progress toward the achievement of Millennium Development Goals to reduce child mortality and improve maternal health.