Feature: Mothers' shelters helping pregnant women in rural Zambia deliver safely

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Xinhua, March 7, 2021
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LUSAKA, March 7 (Xinhua) -- In many parts of rural and remote Zambia, access to health care services is a challenge as health facilities are often difficult to get to largely because of distance.

For pregnant women in these areas, long distances and transportation challenges hinder them from receiving the care they need at the time they need it most, that is at later stages of pregnancy, during childbirth and immediately after giving birth.

But the introduction of mothers' shelters in a number of rural health facilities in Zambia has enabled pregnant women who are about to give birth to be closer to health facilities.

A mothers' shelter is a lodging space for pregnant women that are about to give birth. The shelter is often situated within the premises of a health facility, making it easier for pregnant women in rural Zambia to receive quality maternity care in a timely manner.

"This initiative is really helping a lot of pregnant women to overcome challenges associated with distance, which is a barrier to health care providers in rural communities," said caregiver Margaret Jere, of Chamulimba village, in Chongwe district, Lusaka rural, Zambia's capital.

Jere, who at the time of the interview was at a mothers' shelter in Chongwe, taking care of her pregnant daughter commended the initiative noting that the shelters are helping rural communities cut down on costs.

"The shelters are not only helping pregnant women to give birth safely but also ensuring that travel costs to and from health facilities are reduced. This is helping families of pregnant women to cut down on a lot of expenses," Jere added.

And a mother-to-be Silanga Mwampamba said she was happy to stay at the shelter as it provided her the opportunity to get quality health care services at a critical time of her life.

"This is my first pregnancy and so being at the shelter which is within the health facility is comforting," said Mwampamba, a resident of Bundabunda village in Lusaka rural.

According to health experts in Zambia, mothers' shelters have been instrumental in reducing pregnancy-related complications, maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality rates as they help bring pregnant women in rural and remote areas closer to quality health care delivery. Enditem

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