Thursday, May 3, 2018

The Long walk

Jane holding baby with proud mom, Minivar, looking on
Think of the iconic car in the U.S. driving at break-neck speeds to get a pregnant woman to the hospital in time to deliver her baby.  Then think of the developing world where no cars are available and a trip to the hospital requires walking.

When walking is the only option, the assistance and company of a caring companion is deeply appreciated.  Jane, our Kafwa supervisor in Luapula, Zambia, recently said she walked very slowly to the hospital with Minivar, one of her neighbors, who was in labor.  The important thing is, they made it in time and sent us a picture of the proud mother and her baby boy as proof.

The maternal mortality rate in Zambia has declined from 577 in 1990 to 224 per 100,000 live births in 2015 (UNICEF). Fortunately, modest little Zambian  hospitals with free government services are becoming more readily accessible for moms in rural areas.   The U.S. by comparison has 12.7 maternal deaths per 100,000 and Finland, the top-ranked country in the world, 3.8.

With Kafwa like Jane to accompany moms to the hospital, more and more women are taking advantage of the safe delivery service saving thousands of moms' and babies' lives.  There's still a long way to go, but, in the meantime, Kafwa like Jane will keep accompanying moms on the slow walk to the hospital.