Access to maternal care is saving lives


Woman holding baby

New mother Bayeush Fantan was feeling relieved she chose to deliver her first-born at the hospital in Assosa, Ethiopia. Complications arose during her labour and when her son was born, he wasn’t breathing.

Six days later, mom and baby were happy and healthy thanks to the care they received from medical staff at Assosa General Hospital. Bayeush said she was looking forward to the community celebration awaiting them upon their return home.

Cuso International volunteers like nurse Agatha Wambugu have been working to train health practitioners at Assosa General Hospital in maternity care, family planning, emergency obstetric care and compassionate respectful care.

One of Agatha’s students, midwife Munaji Markeni, said she is able to be more compassionate towards her patients following her training.

Munaji explained she now watches her patients more carefully after birth and allows visitors stay in the room if the mother wants them there. She says her patients are very appreciative of the new services and approaches towards maternal care.

When Zenia Rantala began to feel ill towards the end of her first pregnancy, her immediate reaction was to get to the hospital.

The 20-year-old mother-to-be travelled for more than an hour from her home to Assosa General Hospital. She knew she would receive the maternity health care she needed to ensure she and her baby were safe.

Zenia said she was nervous because she’s never seen anyone give birth before, but that she was also comforted by the fact she was being cared for at the hospital.

Two decades ago, the situation would have been much different, said Momina Shifera, Zenia’s mother. Momina gave birth to all six of her children in the family home. She said this new generation of parents and their children are fortunate to have access to improved maternity and newborn health services in a hospital setting.