Rose and David have been blessed beyond measure with a large family of seven children, but along with those blessings have come much pain and suffering, especially for Rose. In rural Mozambique, pregnant women and mothers have limited access to healthcare, and there remains a strong reliance on traditional folk medicine. This often comes at the cost of women’s health, and the health of their children.
After six very difficult pregnancies, and even nearly losing a child to a preventable illness, Rose and David were happy to learn that World Renew was starting a nutrition program for pregnant women and small children. When the call went out for community volunteers, Rose and David looked back and realized how much suffering could have been avoided if Rose and the children had received better care.
"We thought back to those years when our first-born, Jaime David, was born nineteen years ago, how we suffered from pregnancy to bringing him up… We thought of our daughter Catarina David, who is now sixteen years old, how she almost died from diarrhea… We thought of our other children… all of whom we delivered at home with no help of a nurse. We suffered a lot….," Rose recalled.
So Rose "never hesitated" and immediately volunteered to join World Renew's maternal health initiative, with David's support and encouragement.
It seemed natural that Rose would be the one to go to the training, but a sudden illness during her most recent pregnancy prevented her from going, so David went in her place. When he came back from the training, David was eager to put it to good use.
He encouraged Rose to go to her monthly antenatal care appointments, and even accompanied her, which made Rose very happy, and the neighbours rather curious! David and Rose took advantage of that curiosity and shared their new-found knowledge with their neighbours, and encouraged them to participate in the maternal and child health project too.
A few months later, David and Rose joyfully welcomed their seventh child, a daughter named Angelina, into their family. Angelina was born healthy and without any difficulties at the local health clinic. Seeing how proper maternal care has benefited their lives, Rose and David are now champions of maternal health initiatives in their community, and have been helping to change attitudes surrounding women’s health.
David, in particular, has been instrumental in this. He has been a support for his wife, throughout her pregnancy and in caring for the children, and he has shown remarkable dedication in his volunteer work.
He travels to a neighbouring town to teach what he has learned about maternal and child health, and he helps to weigh pregnant women and babies at the clinic. Most importantly, Rose and David have a sense of pride in what they have accomplished together for the health of their family, and for the families in their community.
Rose and David’s story of improved health and a better life gives us cause to celebrate this International Development Week as we work “together for gender equality.” Many lives have been saved through maternal health initiatives, but much more needs to be done.
Every 90 seconds, a woman dies during pregnancy and childbirth because they are lacking proper nutrition and adequate healthcare. Through Maternal and Child Health programs in nearly every country in which we work, World Renew remains committed to creating equality through healthier, happier lives for women and their families.
Thank you for joining World Renew as we begin International Development Week, and as we share God's vision for more equal lives.
You can continue to follow us this IDW on World Renew Facebook, Instagram and Twitter each day of this week, as we tell stories of how World Renew is working to promote this year's theme of "Together for Gender Equality".