August 23, 2017
Written by U.S. Agency for International Development
This post originally appeared on USAID website>>
Saving Mothers, Giving Life is a public-private partnership working to dramatically reduce maternal and newborn mortality in sub-Saharan African countries. In Zambia, this effort has reduced maternal deaths by 55% and early newborn deaths by 45% in three years.
Samfya, Zambia. It is a special morning in the village of Mundabi. This is Theresa. She is visiting her niece, Mwansa. Theresa knows, Mwansa is pregnant. In Bemba tradition, an aunt blesses her niece when she is pregnant. It’s done in secret, early in the morning before others are awake. Pregnancy isn’t something that’s celebrated here. Many women die while pregnant. Many babies die. EVERY TWO MINUTES A WOMAN DIES DURING PREGNANCY AND CHILD BIRTH IN SOUTHERN AFRICA. OVER 95 PERCENT OF THESE DEATHS ARE PREVENTABLE. My name is Exildah Chola Chate. I am a SMAG [Safe Motherhood Action Group member]. I have been trained to work with our community to provide education and support to keep our babies and mothers safe. I’m visiting Ruth, who lives in my village. She is 8 months pregnant. My name is Ruth Mushinge. I am 8 months pregnant. This is my second pregnancy. I have been meeting with Ruth since her first weeks of pregnancy. I ask how she is feeling and we discuss her birth plan. Pregnant women here rely on their aunts and grandmothers for care even if there is a serious problem. I’ve learned the importance of antenatal checkups. And I’ve learned that when you see danger signs when pregnant you must get to the clinic and not stay at home.