Safe Motherhood Calls Man to Action
Carrie Vogelsang, Peace Corps Response – Saving Mothers, Giving Life Lundazi, Zambia 10/4/2012
"My women are over there, let me show you." Safe Motherhood Action Group (SMAG) member, Edson Zulu, smiles proudly as he walks us to where a group of pregnant women are sitting on the ground. The women are gathered outside Chikomeni Rural Health Center in the rural district of Lundazi, Zambia. Edson is a member of a Safe Motherhood Action Group, and was trained by the Zambia Integrated Systems Strengthening Program (ZISSP). ZISSP is funded by USAID as part of Saving Mothers, Giving Life.
Since being trained in March 2012, the 20 members of SMAG group Chikomeni have been actively working in their surrounding villages for 6 months. The training they've put into practice has made a significant impact on the number of pregnant women seeking care and also choosing to deliver at the facility.
Read more of Edson's story.
Going the Distance
Carrie Vogelsang, Peace Corps Response – Saving Mothers, Giving Life Lundazi, Zambia
"I was going to lose the patient, so it served the purpose of why it was sent here." Amon Mwale, driver for Lundazi District Health, reflected on his decision to tell the hospital to change his vehicle to the Saving Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL) ambulance. Instead, he could have been using the older, run-down vehicle typically assigned to the valley region in the most remote areas of the district. The ambulance was funded through a cooperative agreement between MOH/ Provincial Medical Office (Eastern Province) and the CDC as part of the SMGL initiative.
The driver, Amon, received word in the morning at the district hospital that a woman was experiencing obstructed labor and needed to be picked up and transported back to the hospital. The over 300km (186 miles) round trip meant traveling on bad roads, which were often dried up river beds, and passing through the national park where elephants, lions and other animals roam.
Read more of Amon's story.
"We need to move and now. We should not lose any time," instructed the mentor midwife to her team of a driver and a Community Linkage Officer (CLO).
The team was on its way to rescue Mary, a mother of seven, now in labor with her eighth child. Mary had previously given birth to some of her children with the aid of family members and a local birth attendant. Although the local birth attendant tried to convince Mary to go to a health facility this time, Mary remained confident that she would give birth at home as she had done before.
When the local birth attendant realized that the case was complicated, she sent Mary away. Mary then contacted the Village Health Team (VHT) member, Joseph, to express her concerns. Joseph sent a text message to the CLO, Lonard, who acts as a liaison between the community and the local health officers. Recognizing Joseph's phone number, Lonard returned the call immediately.
Read more of Mary's story.