Women in Pokot County in Kenya face enormous challenges during pregnancy and delivery. Great distances between health facilities, high costs and poor quality of care contribute to far too many deaths for women and their newborns. HealthRight is working to improve these statistics and to keep mothers and babies alive. Since 2010, HealthRight has been supporting three maternity waiting homes (MWH) which eliminate the need to walk an average of three hours during labor. The homes lead to closer monitoring of labor by trained health staff and better quality of care during delivery. Babies whose mothers stay in a MWH are healthier at birth than those whose mothers do not use the home. Global Giving funds are used to support community health workers who offer education to women in the homes and to promote the homes throughout Pokot County.
News of the three Maternity Waiting Homes supported by HealthRight and by Global Giving is spreading through Pokot County and their popularity is growing. In the past three months, 111 pregnant women used the homes in Kapenguria, Ortum and Kabichbich. This is nearly twice as many women as used the homes during the same time period last year! The biggest increase has been in Kapenguria, the newest maternity waiting home, which was filled to capacity in November. More importantly, HealthRight has documented a 40% increase in the use of the health facilities for deliveries in the same time period. In 2013 there were 1,167 deliveries versus only 807 in 2012. This means fewer women delivering their babies at home which equates to fewer preventable deaths in the long run. And that is something to be very excited about!
What is the secret to the success of these homes? Women tell us they receive better service from the health staff when they stay in the maternity waiting home and we know that their labor is more closely monitored. Funds from Global Giving pay for community health workers to visit women in the homes every week and counsel them on important health topics like keeping themselves and their babies safe, identifying danger signs in newborns, and the benefits of breastfeeding. Because of these benefits, all of the women using the maternity waiting homes in the past year were highly satisfied with their stay and reported that they would refer a friend in need.
This project also supports community events so that pregnant women in rural communities learn about the maternity waiting homes and the importance of delivering their babies in a health facility. In the past three months, over 1,000 women received these messages.
Here’s what Global Giving funds helped to achieve this quarter:
# of women enrolled in homes: 111
Total #. of deliveries in the facility: 1,167
# of classes provided by CHWs in the homes: 135
# of participants in classes in the homes: 1,181
# of participants in community events: 1,107