A Call for Life

Partnership objectives

  1. Improve knowledge in the rural community of obstetric, neonatal, infant and postpartum emergencies as well as priority diseases.
  2. Strengthen the capacity of community health workers to manage obstetric, neonatal, and infant emergencies effectively.
  3. Establish participatory mechanisms and ensure the efficient and rapid hospitalization for obstetric, neonatal and childhood emergencies in poor households in rural areas.
  4. Create linkages and alliances to boost the partnership between the community and public and private support facilities, and take better account of women’s needs.

This is a project based on mobilizing the community and networking different health system actors so as to improve their skills and knowledge. This is a project based on mobilizing the community and networking different health system actors so as to improve their skills and knowledge. Copyright Sanofi

What are the health needs and challenges?

Although the government of Benin has prioritized maternal, newborn and child health, rates of maternal and neonatal mortality are still high. There are about 1,500 preventable maternal deaths per year that are due to complications during pregnancy, childbirth and the 6-week period following childbirth. A national study conducted in 2010 found an absence of basic as well as comprehensive obstetric and neonatal emergency services in the Cove-Zagnanado-Ouinhi health zone.

Description of partnership activities and how they address needs and challenges

In each of the 35 villages, a community volunteer will be appointed by the community to monitor pregnancies and women who have given birth, acting as the relay point between health centers and these women.

CARE will use mobile phone systems to build local capacity and healthcare networking. This is an innovation in Benin. Each of the 35 community volunteers will be responsible for the using mobile phones to:

  • Monitor pregnant women better before, during and after delivery, by recording data and transmitting them to health workers who can assess the health situation more effectively.
  • Inform and educate pregnant women by broadcasting specific information (e.g. via video etc.).
  • Contact and strengthen linkages among stakeholders in maternal and child health emergencies (e.g. phone calls to organize the transportation of women and children and their treatment in health centers).

The project plans to create a fund to support the reference/counter-reference system for beneficiaries. This fund will among other things enable communities to provide for a village motor tricycle ambulance or ambulance motorboat in an effort to overcome the remoteness of villages from health centers and district/or hospital area.

Due to the isolation of Ouinhi and its distance from health centers, this component is essential to the success of the project. The motor tricycle or motorboat ambulance will make it easier to evacuate pregnant women and children in emergencies to health centers using village routes. This will address the two major difficulties of distance and delays in administering first aid.

Lessons learned

For some long-term healthcare programs, such as “A Call for Life”, multi-stakeholder partnerships are essential. In additional to private partners, Care works with local partners, technical companies, and official government institutions, including the Department of Maternal and Child Health of the Ministry of Health, the Zou Departmental Health Agency, the Municipality of Ouinhi and regional hospital board.

 Summary of impact and forward looking information

In 2013, 5,459 people (4,364 women and 1,095 newborns) received medical care and access to healthcare.


"A Call for Life" in Benin

Partnership information

Company(ies) Sanofi

Partner(s) Benin Department of Health, Benin Ministry of Health, CARE, D-tree, Dimagi, Local hospitals & health centers & patient groups, Village Savings and Credit Associations, Women for Women’s Initiative Fund

Type of Partner(s) Academia / Hospitals, Government, NGOs, Professional Associations

Therapeutic Focus Women and Children's Health

Disease(s) Children's Health, Women's Health

Program Type(s) Health System Infrastructure - Outreach & Medical Services, Health System Infrastructure - Training, Prevention Programs - Awareness & Outreach

Targeted Population(s) Children, Marginalised / Indigenous People, Mothers, People with low income, Women


Number of Countries 1

Country(ies) Benin

Start Date 2011

More information A Call for Life

Anticipated completion date Ongoing

« Communication can be difficult, with health centers sometimes more 60 km from the people concerned. We must solve the problem of transporting pregnant women from villages to health centres. »

Paulin Davodoun, CARE in Benin, Public Health Doctor