Maternity Wing for Rural Health Center

  • Health
  • Community Growth
  • Women & Gender
  • Zambia
This project is led by Joelle Hopkins, a Volunteer from Ohio

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The Rural Health Center (RHC) services a population of approximately 15,000 people, covering 9 zones in a 30 kilometer radius. It consists of 6 rooms; a screening room, an HIV testing/counselling room, an office, an outpatient room, kitchen, and a small maternity room that is shared as an inpatient room. This room consists of just 3 beds. The RHC experiences deliveries almost daily, between 3-5 times a week. This means women go into labor with inpatients, when the 3 beds are full the inpatient is moved, and if there are more than 3 women delivering at a time the RHC has to create space elsewhere. The current environment puts stress on the midwives, nurses and clinicians decreasing their productivity, and it also affects the quality of care and privacy for the inpatients. Although, the largest negative impact this environment has on the community is an increase in the number of women choosing to take the risk of delivering at home without skilled care, because they are discouraged due to the lack of bed space, and privacy. This puts the mother and babies at risk for complications and/or death. The community worked with a donor years back to start the construction of a maternity wing, but the donor pulled out after completing the foundation. With a finished foundation the community is eager to complete the rest of this project. The project committee has begun mobilizing community members to bring contributions to the facility since October. The community agreed to contribute all of the building sand, river sand, stone, and bricks needed for the project. They will provide transport for these materials using oxcarts and tractors to transfer them to the facility. Community members will be cooking, and providing lunch for the labor staff to prevent them from going home to eat, to keep the project on the timeline.

The completed maternity wing will consist of at least eight beds with a first stage waiting room, a delivery room, a resting room, workspace, and storage room. The district health office will be providing all furnishing when construction is complete. The completion of the maternity wing will increase the number of safe deliveries, improve privacy for all patients, increase working conditions for staff, improve the quality and capacity of maternal services including antenatal and postnatal services at the facility, increase the capacity of local health organisations like Safe Motherhood Action groups to be more effective in the community, and allow the current room to be used solely for inpatient services.

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