This project supports the operation of three Maternity Waiting Homes (MWHs) in Pokot County, Kenya and helps save the lives of the pregnant women and newborns who stay there. MWHs are dormitories situated adjacent to health centers where pregnant women can stay for free prior to the onset of labor and after delivery before walking home. These homes decrease risks for mothers and babies and save their lives by allowing for rapid treatment of complications.
Giving birth at home greatly increases the risk of death for mother and newborn in the event of complications during delivery. Health centers are equipped to deal with these dangerous complications, thus making delivery at the health center a much safer option than at home. Yet many women in rural Kenya are unable to get to the health center in time to deliver their babies. Only 28% of Pokot mothers deliver their babies in health centers; they are too far and too expensive.
Maternity Waiting Homes are a free service for mothers that encourages them to deliver their babies at the health center instead of at home. While she is in the MWH, health center staff monitors her closely and prepares her for birth. The mother can stay in the home again after delivery to recover before the long walk home. HealthRight has constructed three MWHs in Pokot County. This project provides funding/maintenance and supplies for the MWHs as well as health education for the women.
The overall goal of HealthRight's work is to increase the number of women delivering in health centers in Pokot County. This increase will result in fewer maternal and newborn deaths in the County as a whole. Support for the MWHs will help make the homes more comfortable and sustainable and keep mothers and babies alive.