As VHP’s treatment efforts have grown, further expansion of the Screen, Transport, and Treat Program was challenged by the marginal capacity of the hospital where we are working. It became clear that, in general, medical facilities in the rural areas have extremely limited infrastructure. They struggle to provide even basic maternal health care.
Working with local partners, VHP developed a simple score card assessment tool and in 2016 evaluated the capacity needs of 14 strategically located medical facilities: ten health centers, three district hospitals, and one regional hospital in four parts of rural Ethiopia. Most had no access to clean water, few had places for pregnant women to stay, and many lacked critical medical supplies. The providers in one health center reported that they delivered 90 babies over the prior three months on a concrete floor, without water, protective gear, or even an exam table. They were not alone.
Over the next four years VHP will work to insure that these targeted medical facilities have:
• Access to clean water with attention to sanitation and hygiene
• Hand washing stations and concrete pit latrines
• Light in operating rooms and on labor and delivery
• Rooms for labor and delivery
• Maternity waiting areas
• Equipment and supplies including gloves and surgical instruments
Maternity Waiting Areas (MWAs) are facilities on the hospital grounds that offer pregnant women a safe place to stay before delivery. Because women that stay there are closer to the hospital and can be monitored, MWAs have been proven to reduce maternal mortality and stillbirths by more than 90% each, and, in one 21-year study, completely eliminated uterine ruptures during childbirth.
VHP has so far constructed three Maternity Waiting Areas to improve the access to care that pregnant women in rural Ethiopia desperately need.
A donkey, loaded with jerry cans, carries water to the Jomu Health Center that doesn't have clean water.
Two hospital workers turn on the new generator at the Mizan Tepe University Teaching Hospital. Before it was installed nearly half of the hospital's surgeries were interrupted by power outages.
This recently built Maternity Waiting Area has room to safely shelter 64 women while they wait for delivery.