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volunteer was visiting me and encouraging me, I could see myself managing it slowly. It is good, it has helped my child to survive," she says.

home. Dr Isa Lipupu works at the nearby Nangururwe health centre. "In the last two years, we had about 20 deliveries at the health centre.

But this time we have already delivered more than 40 babies. This is about 60-80% of all the mothers that were pregnant," he says.

encouraging me, I could see myself managing it slowly. It is good, it has helped my child to survive," she says.

Salima also feels that understanding more about premature birth helps mothers like herself to deal with it properly.

If the strategy proves successful, then there are already plans to roll out the footprint scheme to the rest of Tanzania, giving more health volunteers the ability to quickly spot at-risk babies.

Salima also feels that understanding more about premature birth helps mothers like herself to deal with it properly.

"It helps a lot for the mother not to be surprised when having a premature birth. It is useful to know in advance as you get good knowledge on how to handle the premature. Myself, I do thank the volunteer who talked about it when I was pregnant and she even taught me how to carry skin to skin."

The project is still underway and it will take another six months before it's clear whether measuring feet has the ability to save thousands of lives. However, it is already having a positive effect on the way mothers in the area are preparing for childbirth.

"When I had my first child, she was small and was not breastfeeding well and I did not know where to get help," says Rukia Twarib, who is currently pregnant with her second child. "Now I have information, if the situation ever happens again, I know can go to the health centre to get help." Advice from volunteers like Miriam also appears to be contributing to the increase in women now choosing to deliver at a health centre rather than at

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"Right now many people are aware of the work I do. All the families have been very welcoming and have accepted me and this programme," says Mariam Ulaya. "I have seen a lot of changes in the area. I can see that there are more mothers visiting the clinic and giving birth there much more than they used to do - and so I am grateful for that." Most of these babies will survive if given extra warmth through skin-to-skin contact and very regular breastfeeding to help fight off infection.

In fact, the report states that an estimated 75% of deaths in preterm infants can be prevented in this way without the cost and emotional upset of intensive care.

Salima Ahmad is 25 and has three children who live with her in Namahyakata dinduma village, Tanzania. Her youngest son, Alhaji, was born prematurely.

"I was a little bit shocked because many premature babies end up dying but I was also happy because I had a live baby," says Salima.

Although Alhaji was born at the local hospital, Salima was given advice and support by volunteers from Mtunze Mtoto Mchanga about how to care for him once she got home.

"Carrying skin-to-skin was good but difficult in the beginning. But when the volunteer was visiting me and

Podiatry Review Vol 71:3

• There is no clear cause of premature birth and there tend to be many different risk factors involved.

• These include infections of the genital and urinary tract, preeclampsia, problems with the placenta and gestational diabetes. • Obesity is another major risk factor for premature birth.

• Fetal fibronectin is a protein which can be used as a reliable indicator of preterm birth. It normally appears around 22 weeks and then again at the end of pregnancy. If it appears between these dates, early labour often follows.

• Research also suggests that low levels of the hormone progesterone in the saliva could also help spot women at risk of sudden premature labour.

Source: Tommy’s

Acknowledgement

This article is courtesy of the BBC News Online which appeared on 9th November 2013 http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health24728460

HEALTH ARTICLE

Podiatry Review May/June 2014  

Volume 71 number 3 ISSN 1756-3291

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