Project information

Mother and Baby Programme in Africa

St John is meeting urgent health needs of pregnant women, mothers and infants in Sub-Saharan Africa. Volunteer-led activities aim to increase timely and essential care for mothers and their babies and healthy practices in households.


Charity information: St John International

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  • Need


    Each year more than 200,000 women lose their lives in sub-Saharan Africa due to complications arising from pregnancy or delivery. More than one million newborn babies die in the first few weeks after birth. The major cause of death for both mothers and babies is none or improper supervision by skilled attendants during pregnancy, delivery and after the birth.


    Most causes of maternal and newborn death can be easily prevented, as long as pregnant women and new mothers with infants get the right health care at the right time. St John’s support is increasing the use of health care by pregnant women and mothers with infants. We are helping health services to respond to the needs for safe motherhood and newborn health and survival. This is leading to healthy practices at household level and an increase in demand in communities for relevant health services.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Increase access to health care through basic support for local health services.


    » Training and support: St John provides training in first aid and mother and child health to local volunteer and health staff.
    » Household visits: St John volunteers reach households with pregnant women, new mothers with infants and their husbands/partners through regular visits
    » Outreach clinics: In remote areas where health services do not exist, low-cost outreach clinics are run by St John volunteers and local health staff.
    » St John provides a basic package of support for the local health centres, e.g. blood pressure monitors.

    What success will look like


    Aim 2

    Increase demand for adequate care through community outreach and support for women.


    » Through regular door-to-door visits, volunteers encourage the women to go for frequent health check-ups.

    What success will look like


    Aim 3

    Optimise results by linking community activities and health services.


    » Volunteers encourage the use of medical care early and often, and make referrals for individuals to the local clinics.
    » The referrals system also allows clinic staff and volunteers to collaborate and to ensure there is follow-up visits for women and their babies.

    What success will look like


  • Impact


    Increased demand and access to medical services for pregnant women and new mothers with infants will help to reduce the high maternal and newborn death rates in the local communities.

    St John will monitor objectives like:
    increasing mothers taking 4 antenatal visits; increasing institutional deliveries; increasing the number of mothers developing birth preparedness plans; better feeding habits for newly delivered mothers; increasing number of mothers using good thermal care


    Change in government policies can have an effect on the programme but indicators on Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (MNCH) are key health and development indicators for the project countries; and the governments have already shown commitment to improving them.


    We will report to donors through various channels, e.g. website, newsletter and social media pages.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £209,719

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £16,824 Training Volunteer Recruitment and Training
      £150,367 Activities Household Visits, Mobile Outreach, Support to local Clinics
      £27,180 Evaluation Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning
      £15,348 Running Costs Local Running Costs (in Africa only)
  • Background


    Sub-Saharan Africa: Malawi, Uganda, Zambia & Zimbabwe


    Since the launch of our Mother and Baby programme in Africa two years ago, St John has reached more than 50,000 people.

    This year, we will target a further 26,000 beneficiaries in our programme countries: 11,000 pregnant women, new mothers with infants, and husbands and partners, as well as 15,000 community members reached with health education on safe motherhood and new-born health and survival.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    For generations, St John has helped people around the world to help themselves and their neighbours in times of need. Today more than 30 independent, local St John organisations deliver first aid, healthcare and support services all around the world. Local St John Ambulance Associations have been active in their communities for a number of years, with a continuous presence of St John volunteers and a standing partnerships with health facilities.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.



    Village health worker from Zimbabwe: Through local volunteers like Rudo local people learn skills to help themselves and their neighbours.

Saving the lives of mothers and babies

“I passionately support the work of St John International and their unique community and volunteer led approach towards improving community health around the world.“

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Prior of St John South Africa