Photo: Inter Aide staff and representatives from Phalombe District Health Office inspect the Maternity Waiting Home foundations

The construction of the new Maternity Waiting Home at Nambazo Health Centre is now underway. The new building will provide a safe and comfortable place for pregnant women to stay while they are waiting to give birth.

Due to the size of the Nambazo Health Centre catchment area, many pregnant women have to travel long distances to reach the facility, with no access to transport. They are therefore encouraged to come to the health centre when they reach or are nearing their due date – if a woman goes into labour in one of the more remote villages in the area, there is a high chance they will be unable to get to the health facility for a safe, administered delivery. This can endanger the health of the mother and the new-born baby, especially if there are complications during birth, as there is no way of accessing medical assistance.

Currently, the health centre has no facility for housing the pregnant women who come to the health centre and are waiting to give birth, forcing women to sleep on the bare cement floor of the health centre or on the veranda. The new maternity waiting home will provide beds for 12 women, with space for guardians to sleep, toilet and shower facilities and storage space for belongings.

The foundations for the waiting home are now complete. The construction will be suspended for a short time during the rainy season, before re-commencing in March. The facility should be completed and open for use in June.