MAGNA health projects are aimed at saving lives and alleviating the suffering of those in need. Conflicts and unstable political situation have a devastating impact on ordinary people - direct violence, forcible expulsions, epidemics, famish and psychological trauma, are the usual effects, often accompanied by a disrupted local health services. Main priority of MAGNA is the provision of medical and nutritional assistance to victims of conflicts and crises. MAGNA also responds to the needs of people who do not have the access to basic healthcare and it also assists victims of natural disasters. MAGNA provides not only the primary health care, but also aims to provide adequate treatment and care for people affected by diseases such as HIV/AIDS, TB, cholera, malaria, dengue fever and others.
PRIMARY HEALTH CARE
The strategic aim of the MAGNA projects is to support local health systems through the development and strengthening of technical and operational capacities. These are required for the provision of timely medical intervention which can save the lives of newborns, children and adults in rural areas and ensure that these interventions continue to persist. Activities leading of this program are aimed at:
- Improving the quality of life of mothers, newborns and children by providing health care.
- Provision of micronutrients and nutrition within the nutritional interventions.
- Prenatal and postnatal care.
- Consultations concerning hygiene.
- Family Planning.
- Psychosocial support.
- Improvement of health infrastructure and construction of dry toilets and wells.
- Treatment of malaria and other diseases caused by the disease vector.
- Renovation/reconstruction and equipment of health facilities.
Immunization is one of the most cost-effective medical interventions in public health. However, it is estimated that approximately two million people die every year from diseases that are preventable by a series of vaccines recommended for children by the World Health Organization. Currently, these are DTP (diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis), hepatitis B, Haemophilius influenzae type b (Hib), BCG (against tuberculosis), measles, polio, rubella and yellow fever – although not all vaccines are recommended everywhere. In countries where vaccination coverage is generally low like in South Sudan, MAGNA strives to offer routine vaccinations for children under five whenever possible as a part of its basic healthcare programme. Large-scale vaccination campaigns involve awareness-raising activities regarding the benefits of immunization as well as the set-up of vaccination posts in places where people are likely to gather. A typical campaign lasts between two and three weeks and can reach hundreds of thousands of people.
In order to reduce the number of women dying during childbirth, MAGNA improves the care for mothers by establishing the model of professional assistance in health facilities, the provision of training traditional midwives, the support of midwives in the community and the access to health care for women before and during pregnancy and after childbirth. MAGNA helps children live to see their fifth birthday thanks to higher quality medical treatment, improved health infrastructure, the establishment of vaccination programs, breastfeeding promotion and establishment of nutritional clinics for people suffering from malnutrition.
The reduction of maternal mortality and sickness rate is one of the MAGNA’s operational priorities. Therefore, we implement effective strategies to improve the presence of trained staff at birth, ensuring access to quality emergency obstetric care and encouragement of women to give birth in health facilities.
MAGNA sets up mobile clinics combined with the system for recording of patients to identify women with complications and their transport in emergencies to facilities or hospitals, where they can receive appropriate care. MAGNA’s models used for coping with maternal mortality and sickness rate take into account all aspects of reproductive health.
Several prenatal visits are recommended to cover the health care needs during the pregnancy and to identify potential complicated births. Counselling on family planning as well as information and education about sexually transmitted infections are provided as a part of post-natal care. MAGNA combines diagnosis and effective treatment of sexually transmitted infections with information meeting. The meetings provide information about the availability of HIV testing, condom use and active tracking down of partners. Special attention is paid to sexually transmitted diseases during prenatal consultations of MAGNA, family planning services and in a system of care for victims of rape.
PSYCHOSOCIAL AND MENTAL HEALTHCARE
Whether being the victim or just a witness, traumatic events such as experiencing the death of loved ones or the destruction of livelihoods can generate intense fear and horror and are likely to affect the mental state of people. MAGNA provides early psychosocial support for victims of trauma to reduce the possibility of developing long-term psychological problems. Psychosocial care aims to support communities in building their own strategies for coping with trauma. Counsellors help groups to talk about their experiences and deal with their feelings, and thus reduce the general level of stress. This approach encourages mutual support and allows the community to reintegrate again according to their cultural values and regain control of the situation as soon as possible. This approach is also supplemented by individual counselling and psychiatric care for those who need it.
In the therapeutic centers or supplementary nutrition centers, the volunteers are trained not only to focus on malnourished children, but also to look for signs of emotional trauma of mothers. The most obvious signs are seen in mothers who have no interest in their children – they do not hold them and are not touching them very much even during the breastfeeding.
Volunteers are trying to restore the bond between mother and child by resolving the psychosocial needs of the mother in consulting groups or by helping the mothers to return to their daily routine before their displacement, for example through sewing of clothes and cooking meals.
Mental health care is an integral part of MAGNA’s programs aimed at curing of HIV/AIDS. All patients receiving ARV treatment in clinics and MAGNA hospitals have access to psychosocial support.
MAGNA supplies a wide range of answers: medical support such as surgery, psychological and nutritional programs. These are provided in existing hospitals or through the construction of temporary buildings if needed. MAGNA’s primary focus is on providing medical care, but in an emergency we can distribute relief items that contribute to physical and psychological survival. Such items include clothing, blankets, bedding, shelter, cleaning materials, cooking utensils and fuel. In an emergency similar to the Philippines in 2013, relief items are distributed as kits — like hygiene kit, this includes soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste and laundry soap. Where people are left without shelter, MAGNA distributes emergency supplies such as rope, plastic sheeting or tents in order to ensure provide them with a shelter.