Improving Health Care for Pelida and Her Family


Woman with infant

Pelida Shinga lives in Kalenga, a rural region in Tanzania. When the mother of three became pregnant, she was not able to access the recommended four antenatal visits until late in her pregnancy. When she finally had an ultrasound, Pelida learned she was carrying twins. When she went into labour, Pelida was advised to travel 20 kilometres to the Maweni Referral hospital in Kigoma because of potential complications. Her three older children stayed home with family.

Pelida delivered a beautiful baby girl, who she named Kulwa. But Kulwa’s twin did not survive the birth. Pelida returned home with her new daughter, only to have to return again when Kulwa spiked a fever and developed a skin condition. Sixty kilometres of travel alone back and forth with a newborn to get specialized care.

The tragedy of Pelida’s story is compounded by the fact that tens of thousands of women and children across Africa suffer the consequences of inadequate or inaccessible health care that fails to protect them and their families from preventable and treatable causes.

Cuso International wants to make health services more accessible closer to home so women, children and families can get the care they want and need, when they need it.

In Pelida’s Tanzania, we worked with the Kigoma Regional Health Unit to introduce the use of low-cost health technologies, such as the Newborn Triage Checklist and portable ultrasound devices that require little maintenance and can be operated by non-technical health care workers where power is scarce.

When women and children are healthy, their communities benefit. A healthy mother bears a healthy child. A working mother contributes to the economy and earns money to provide health care and education for her family. An adolescent with access to family planning services stays in school, delays marriage and earns a higher income. These social and economic benefits all start with timely access to quality health care for Pelida, her family and communities around the world.