The 2004 Tsunami and the ensuing major earthquake in 2005 propelled the island of Nias very quickly and suddenly into domestic and international attention. In effect, it ended Nias’ isolation as the island was flooded with massive humanitarian response. The two disasters and the flooding of aid overwhelmed the population, and to some extent altered the attitude of the Nias people. Although the flow of humanitarian aid has improved the financial situation of certain segments of Nias’ population, the health status of the mothers and children of Nias particularly those living in the rural areas, is still a major health issue.
Surfaid has been in contact with Nias since long before the Tsunami and the big earthquake happened. When the disasters struck, Surfaid responded with the Nias Community Based Health Programme; a program aimed to improve the health of the mothers and children of Nias, as the most vulnerable segments of population affected by the great disasters. The Nias Community Based Health Programme (CBHP) was implemented with MFAT funding through the New Zealand Aid Programme. The CBHP was developed in two stages: CBHP phase one, or CBHP I, was a child health promotion project, followed by CBHP II which is a maternal and child health promotion project.