PIH Lesotho’s Maternal Mortality Reduction Program Assistants (MMRPAs) are trained to explain the basic processes of pregnancy and birth to women; explain the importance and benefits of prenatal and postnatal care and accompany women to all prenatal and postnatal health facility visits; help women to identify danger signs during pregnancy and accompany any women experiencing danger signs to the health facility immediately; help women to recognize the signs and symptoms of anemia and seek help for anemia; and help women plan to stay at a special PIH shelter two weeks before their due dates and deliver at the health facility.
In Lesotho up to 23.7 percent of the population has HIV. MMRPAs are trained to explain to women what HIV is, its stages and symptoms, the importance of HIV testing, how HIV is transmitted, how to avoid getting HIV and other STIs, and how to prevent passing HIV to their babies (PMTCT). People with HIV/AIDs are more likely to become infected with tuberculosis (TB), so MMRPAs are trained to explain to woman what TB is, the importance of TB testing, how TB is transmitted, and how to avoid getting TB. MMRPAs are also trained to provide Directly Observed Therapy (DOT) and support for women taking ARVs or tuberculosis medications in order to ensure adherence.
Finally, MMRPAs are trained to help women keep themselves and their babies and children healthy by to learning about family planning and using birth control methods if appropriate, getting their babies immunized according to the nation schedule, treating diarrhea appropriately, and practicing good personal hygiene and household sanitation. MMRPAs are also trained to identify the main symptoms of malnutrition in children, including symptoms of marasmus and kwashiorkor, and refer children with these symptoms to the health facility immediately.
The training is designed for seven days.