Maternity waiting homes benefit pregnant women, new mothers

Mar 22, 2018

Nepal - Rama Danuwar, 15, had dropped out of school after grade 7. She was married when she was 14 with a boy that was three years older to her. She soon conceived after being married.

When the labour pains started and she started to feel uncomfortable, Rama walked 45 minutes to the Bhimtar Health Post. She said she knew about the importance of institutional delivery, and that was why she came to the health post.

Luckily the health post had provision for a maternity waiting home, where Rama stayed in for a day, and then gave birth to a healthy child. While she was in the maternity waiting home, Rama and her baby were provided with very good care from the nursing staff there.

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Bhimtar Health Post is one of the 36 UNICEF-supported maternity waiting homes established in the birthing centres of 12 earthquake-affected districts. The maternity waiting homes are for pregnant women who live far away to stay before and after delivery. These maternity waiting homes have helped to reduce two of the three delays that result in maternal mortality. The three delays are: delay in decision making including financial management, delay in transportation, and delay in service delivery in health facility or not prepared in advance.

In addition to the establishment of maternity waiting homes, 12 district level ambulance committees for referral of complicated delivery cases were also established. An emergency obstetric fund (ranging from US$ 750 – 1,000) has been established and linked with district ambulance committee. The project has been made possible thanks to the generous supports of Arora Family Fund and Netherlands National Committee for UNICEF.

Sabina Tamang, 22, was brought to the maternity waiting home in Laharepauwa Health Post by the Female Community Health Volunteer three days before her due date, on 8 July 2017. This helped to ensure she had access to safe institutional delivery and avoid any complications. Sabina stayed for an additional day after giving birth.

Her husband, Bibek Kumar Lau seemed very contented with the services provided by the maternity waiting home.

“Aside from promoting institutional delivery, this kind of facility is a boon for the people living in remote areas,” he said. “We would have faced problems of lodging and food, and also helps save money for the most vulnerable people.”

Sabina meanwhile said, “I am also so happy with the maternity waiting home and its facilities.”

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