Five Ways USAID is Transforming Safe Motherhood in Yemen through Social and Behavior Change

August 25th, 2023 | Story


This excerpt was originally published as a blog on USAID’s website. 

Yemen’s ongoing political conflict, food insecurity, and deterioration of essential public services present overwhelming challenges to the health and well-being of the population of Yemen. The maternal mortality ratio is one of the highest in the region at 183 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births. Some of the greatest barriers that women face in accessing reproductive, maternal, and child health services are a lack of health education, limited and costly transportation, distance, lack of support from their husbands, reluctance to see male service providers, and low quality public services that engender mistrust. Additionally, rumors and myths about vaccines persist, lowering public confidence in immunization for children.

Findings from a mixed methods study conducted by the USAID-funded Systems, Health and Resiliency Project in the districts of Aden, Lahj, and Ta’izz have deepened the understanding of beliefs, attitudes, and factors influencing the uptake of reproductive, maternal and child health services. The study also identified the key barriers affecting access to essential services and shed light on the preferred communication channels and trusted sources of health information. The study’s findings informed the development of an evidence-based strategy to improve health-seeking behaviors and service uptake in order to decrease morbidity and mortality rates in Yemen. Utilizing multiple, mutually reinforcing messaging approaches have contributed to the effectiveness of the project’s social and behavior change activities.

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