A Model for Improving the Health and Quality of Life of Single Mothers in the Developing World

Rajshri Mainthia, Laura Reppart, Jim Reppart, Elizabeth C. Pearce, Jordan J. Cohen, James L. Netterville

Abstract

Among the impoverished population of coastal Kenya, there is a rapidly growing group of young single mothers who suffer from adverse health outcomes, incomplete schooling, social ostracism by their communities, and economic hardship. To address this problem, in 2008 the Single Mothers Program (SMP) selected a group of vulnerable single mothers, provided them with basic relief and education, equipped them with training and start-up capital to run their own businesses, and assessed the impact of the program via a pre- and post-implementation survey. After two years in the program, a majority of the single mothers increased their contraceptive use, increased their degree of literacy, increased their individual incomes, and were more positively perceived by their communities. This study demonstrates a program model that can be used to improve the health and quality of life of single mothers and their children in similar communities throughout the world. (Afr J Reprod Health 2013; 17[4]: 14-25).

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