We are a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to helping women across Africa by making child birth safe. We support local communities, providing information to keep mothers and babies healthy, as well as excellent medical care and training to ensure safer deliveries. We also treat birth-induced injury such as obstetric fistula.
It is estimated that over 350,000 children are being born every day across the globe, often in dangerous and unsanitary conditions, with little to no access to medical care.
With just 20% of married women believed to be using some form of family planning, Africa has the highest birth rate of any region on Earth, and some of its most impoverished areas. UNICEF suggest that the risk of stillbirth or death due to birth complications can be reduced by about 20 percent with the presence of a skilled birth attendant. However only 50% of women in sub-Saharan and south and east Africa have such access.
As a result, hundreds of thousands of women and their children are dying unnecessarily every year. Of those who survive, millions will be left with devastating injuries which will never heal and may lead to them being permanently ostracised from their communities – all because they wanted a family.
Many of us live in societies where progress in medical research has almost eliminated the terror of dying in child birth. It is hard to imagine that for millions of women, the desire to create new life may come at such a high cost to themselves and their families. Especially when almost all of these deaths and injuries could be prevented.
We at Maternity Africa refuse to accept these statistics. With the support of our dedicated staff and donors, we are working to change this reality and create a brighter future.
For many women, the barriers to healthier, safer and planned parenthood are multiple and diverse, starting with basic infrastructure such as transport, hospital facilities and hygienic environments. However, social and educational hurdles, such as cultural norms and lack of adequately trained midwives, can be just as challenging.
Our support work takes several forms to effectively combat these different barriers:
- Placing experienced midwives and obstetricians with hospitals across the region: in locations where there are currently no safe medical services for women; or in existing maternity hospitals to support and train local health workers.
- Providing comprehensive medical care, from regular check ups to intensive surgery, in places where no other maternity health services are available.
- Identifying potentially high-risk cases and providing waiting areas where women can stay towards the end of their pregnancy, safe in the knowledge that experienced health workers are available to supervise deliveries and/or transfer them to hospital should complications arise.
We are currently engaged on our largest project to date, building the Kivulini Maternity Centre in Arusha, Tanzania.
Kivulini is a Swahili word meaning ‘shade’ – and this is what we hope to offer the women and children who come to us. The centre will specialise in offering excellent obstetric care for the region’s poorest residents, while providing a model environment for experienced and trainee midwives to enhance their skills. The complex includes 44 beds, a dedicated skills lab and staff hostel, fistula surgery, waiting areas and a café for patients.