Advocacy is in our name and advocating for effective change at a local, national, and international level is a key component of our work. Our advocacy work is based on our experiences on the ground in the countries in which we work, which gives credibility and authenticity to any requests for change.
Not only do we speak up about the problems that we identify, but we aim to find practical solutions that can be implemented locally and in other similar settings by widely disseminating the details of any successes. We are very aware that we are often in a position to have a voice when the women, children, and babies, that we represent are not so fortunate and so we are committed to responsible advocacy, to best represent the people we serve, no matter how difficult it may sometimes be to speak up and lobby for change.
We are particularly committed to speaking up against armed conflict and its effect on health. Two MCAI Trustees formed a subsidiary advocacy arm, the International Health Protection Initiative, which is a founding member of the Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition to further campaign on this crucial issue.
We are always advocating for improving the health care of women, babies, and children especially to our partners, the Ministries of Health in the countries in which we work, but also to UN agencies such as WHO.
MCAI welcomes and fully supports the UN Security Council resolution of 3rd May 2016 that condemns attacks on health workers and facilities and sets out a course to secure compliance with international law and end impunity.
The Safeguarding Health in Conflict Coalition has released a statement regarding this resolution.
You can read some examples of our advocacy work in action here:
In 2012, MCAI observed that many people, especially children, were bitten by snakes in Bong county, Liberia. We researched the most effective anti- venom, purchased a few samples, and advocated that WHO in Liberia ensure a constant and reliable supply of anti-venom throughout Liberia.
We also purchased wellington boots for the pregnant women and adolescent girls in the nearby Waiting Home (a safe place for pregnant women with complications to stay close to the hospital) to protect them from snake bites during their walk from the waiting home to the labour ward. We are advocating the wide implementation of this cheap and practical solution to other similar settings.
On another matter, we were concerned at the high number of women and adolescent girls experiencing “child birth fever” (puerperal sepsis) in Liberia after giving birth. We supplied maternity pads and hygiene packs to Bong county and have advocated for our Liberian partners to continue the supply and find other culturally acceptable ways to help prevent this deadly infection.
Liberian midwife, Viola, modeling the wellington boots
Many pregnant women and adolescent girls in The Gambia do not get the emergency obstetric drugs and analgesia they need because of a limited supplies. MCAI has helped plug the gap by sourcing and supplying these drugs but also working with the Ministry of Health to ensure an improved supply. We also advocated for the use of a specific drug (Misoprostol) that helps to prevent bleeding that had not been previously available. This drug is now widely available and used throughout The Gambia and other resource-limited countries.
Emergency medical supplies being delivered to Basse Hospital, The Gambia
We noticed that the oxygen concentrators in Bamenda Hospital were in poor condition so the families of children needing oxygen had to pay for oxygen from other sources. MCAI paid for two technicians to keep the oxygen concentrators in good condition to keep a constant supply of oxygen and advocated that the hospital director encourage the supply of free oxygen.