Improving the healthcare for pregnant women and new mothers is a long-distance run which takes place on many fronts. Patriciah, who took part in the Caritas Czech Republic medical project in Mongu in the Western Province of Zambia, will tell us a bit more about it.
What does it take to improve maternity care?
Patriciah participated in the activities of Caritas Czech Republic to improve maternity care in Zambia. Her main place of work became the Lewanika General Hospital. “Caritas Czech Republic supported the maternity ward of Lewanika Hospital in many ways. They provided us with the necessary equipment and technical support.” These include modern diagnostic equipment and incubators for the care of premature babies. In addition to the hospital in Lewanika, we have also supported six other rural health centers.
In is in the Lewanika Hospital, where Patriciah meets women who are about to give birth, but also midwives. “We work with local medical staff, such as midwives. We train them in all activities related to the care of the newborn babies,” says Patriciah.
In Zambia, hospital birth is not a matter of course such as in European countries. Although things are getting better, the availability of health care is still complicated mainly due to long distances and poor infrastructure. Pregnant women also face a variety of traditional superstitions.
Education is key
In addition to providing technical facilities, Caritas Czech Republic also supported a maternity school in Mongu. “We support the school in capacity building and improving training for both teachers and students,” explains Patriciah. Among other things, anatomical models are prepared for illustrative teaching.
Also thanks to the work of Caritas Czech Republic, Zambia managed to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality by tens of percent. From 2013 to 2016, several Czech doctors and nurses visited our mission in Zambia and helped train local staff. Our educational activities also included visiting primary and secondary schools and teaching students about the importance of healthcare for pregnant women and newborns.
Learn more about Patriciah's work in the video:
Photo and video credit: Michal Gálik