CSI efforts to reach the unreached contribute to community, national, and global health agendas, policies, and strategies to improve Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, Child, Adolescent Health (RMNCAH) in low-resource settings.
Illustration above displays CSI's Top Five Priorities with the goal to improve reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and youth health in underserved communities.
(1) Make pregnancy, labor & delivery, and postpartum period safer for the mother and newborn, and optimize child survival for the first five years.
(2) Increase demand, understanding, access, and use of reproductive health services and adherence to contraception use among men and women of child-bearing age (15–49 years).
(3) Strengthen frontline healthcare provider skills especially nurses and midwives focusing on quality, equity, and dignity.
(4) Improve access to quality youth friendly reproductive health care services focusing on STIs, HIV/AIDS, menstruation, menstrual hygiene, and prevention of unintended pregnancies.
(5) Educate/inform and empower communities to foster project ownership and sustainability.
Maternal Health in developing countries is poorly addressed resulting in 99% of deaths and disabilities. According to WHO reports (November 2015), an estimated 830 women die every day due to pregnancy and childbirth related preventable and treatable causes. The number one cause being postpartum hemorrhage (excessive bleeding after birth). Other major causes include pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, unsafe abortions, and obstructed labor yet with appropriate skills through training, existing health systems strengthened, and available technology and resources are 100% preventable. CSI is working with health facilities, midwives, and community leaders to improve quality of maternal health services.
Newborns and Children including preterm babies and stillbirths are dying in numbers, three quarters of all newborn deaths occur in the first week of life. Many of these deaths are happening in low- and middle-income countries, where there's an acute and persistent deficit in quality health services, accessibility barriers, and poor delivery of health services and information especially in rural areas. Low-cost low-tech interventions can optimize child survival and thrival by reducing loss of life due to preventable vaccine diseases, newborn complications and diseases such as diarrhea, pneumonia, and malaria. CSI's basic interventions to save lives of newborns and children U5 contribute to improved first 1,000 days of life.
Adolescents and Youth the world's largest untapped potential is ballooning and efforts to meet and address their needs is no longer an option, especially for the girl child, if we are to achieve global prosperity. CSI programs such as Safina for orphans and vulnerable children, Keeping Youth Healthy, Alive, Informed (HAI) and Girl Talk, Girl Power work with schools, communities, businesses, and local organizations to educate, empower, and inform adolescents and youth. CSI is considered an expert in outreach and mass sensitization to steadily increase community awareness, drive demand and political will to invest in adolescents and youth in underserved communities.
Reproductive Health and Family Planning services and information remain inadequately used due to access, affordability, convenience, and cultural attitudes and misconceptions. The demand may not be visible or loud; however, in many community-based activities where CSI offers various health services and information, need for reproductive health and family services is always shared by community members. Young people face greater challenges in accessing family planning/reproductive health services and information mainly due to societal and cultural attitudes. CSI's program Saving Lives at Birth includes increasing access to modern family planning and reproductive health services.
Frontline Health Workers especially midwives and nurses who are the first point of contact in many developing countries are the heroes in saving lives at birth, ensuring a mother has a safe delivery, and returns home to her family. CSI enhances midwifery skills through professional development short courses and educates communities on importance of having a skilled birth attendant during childbirth and immediately after birth. CSI's program Midwifery Professional Development in Tanzania works with licensed midwives in health facilities across the country to strengthen Respectful Maternity Care.
Community Education and Awareness is important for change to happen. Change gradually takes shape when people embrace a perspective, practice, and behavior that they believe is beneficial for them and their families. For change to happen, people need to feel invested in and part of the change process. Collective voices and thoughts in turn influence and shape necessary changes such as health policy. CSI interventions always begin with community first, especially men, Men for Women and Girls - fathers, spouses, relatives, and respectable community leaders, because without the support of men and community, interventions cannot be sustained long-term.