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Moroccan Moms Benefit from Maternal Health Revolution

"Peace Corps Contributions

The country's campaign has also benefited from the longstanding presence of Peace Corps volunteers, who have been supporting maternal-related health care here since 1992, said Mostafa Lamqaddam, the Corps' health program manager in Rabat.

Volunteers organize trainings for traditional birth attendants and educate local women about such things as vaccinations, family planning and healthy pregnancies. They target understaffed, underequipped and hard to access parts of the country.

The Peace Corps recently shifted its focus in Morocco to youth development, however, so the health program, which is the organization's largest, is expected to phase out in May 2013. The group's number of health care volunteers dropped in May from around 70 to 40.

‘Definitely volunteers feel it will leave a void,’ said Lamqaddam. ‘Some associations and Moroccan nongovernmental organizations have started work in this area, but it's not the exact same thing. Nobody is doing this work at the grassroots level. But the need is still out there.’

The government has also trained and deployed health workers. The proportion of births attended by skilled personnel rose to 83 percent in 2009 from 61 percent in 2004, according to the Ministry of Health/U.N. report."

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