Case Study / Malawi / Maternal & Child Health / Project Update

Would you cross a crocodile infested river whilst pregnant?

03/31/2024 10:00am

*This month, for every £3 you donate to our Maternal Care Programme this Ramadan, we will increase this by a further £1 through a match funded grant.

In Malawi, approximately 70% of pregnant women face issues in accessing maternal health services. During our visit to Balaka, community members told us stories about crossing crocodile infested rivers in order to reach the closest healthcare facility. 

In that same situation, what would you do? 

malawi maternal care doctors worldwide

Felista’s Story.

My name is Felista James, I am 34 years old from Pila village and I would like to tell my story before the coming in of Somba Health Centre, here in Mangochi and how this facility has changed my life.

During Felista’s first pregnancy, the closest available antenatal clinic was only accessible by foot, a number of kilometres away. One night, there was a sudden onset of labour, yet the cost of hiring a motor vehicle to travel to the hospital was unaffordable. The only option was to walk.

A few kilometres away from the hospital, my condition worsened and I couldn’t bear it any longer, so I decided to stop to rest. It was raining heavily and my labour pains were persistent.”

A few hours later, Felista gave birth to a premature baby, and, following the successful delivery, rushed to the hospital with her husband with the remains of her strength in order to receive postnatal care. 

Upon arrival, the baby was found to be excessively cold due to the heavy rain; doctors attempted to resuscitate the baby, but to no avail. 

Years later, exciting news spread through the village about the introduction of a maternity clinic at Somba. During my second pregnancy, I started attending the antenatal clinic there and one evening, when labour started, the nurses rushed me into the labour ward and I progressed through to delivery, giving birth to a live full-term infant without any complications. As I am reporting this, I am pregnant and once again, and attending antenatal appointments here at Somba.

Unfortunately, not every mother has access to a nearby maternity clinic with trained staff, and many continue to suffer the complications in healthcare access, labour and delivery like Felista once did. Through the work of Doctors Worldwide, together we can support communities in need in the rural areas of Malawi to ensure a story like Felista’s does not happen again. 

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