We are now embarking on one of our largest projects yet – building our own maternity centre offering free health services to women in the Arusha region. With these facilities, we plan to oversee 2,500 safe and healthy deliveries, conduct surgical interventions for 150 women with birth injuries, and train up to 60 local midwives every year. These newly trained midwives will be encouraged to go out to other hospitals and health centres, so that the best practice we demonstrate here can spread throughout the country.
One of our core goals is for Kivulini to serve as a Tanzanian centre of excellence in maternity health care, a place where midwives from all over the country can come for training and skills development. Once back in their hospitals, they will be offered ongoing support and encouragement through the ‘Make One Change’ challenge. This this consists of implementing an evidenced-based improvement in their own organisations, and in this way contributing to the nationwide improvement of maternal health care. In time, we hope that ‘Kivulini-trained’ will become a well-trusted and recognised brand, signifying ‘kind, safe and excellent’ standards of care.
Construction of the maternity centre will begin in October 2016, and should be operational by the end of 2017.
In addition to directly serving Tanzanian mothers, Kivulini will provide advanced midwifery training courses. The hostel will accommodate 8 trainees during their 6 week course.
After what feels like an eternity of foundation work, this week the team have started on laying the blocks that will form the walls to Kivulini Maternity Centre.
With many thanks to our neighbours – Steve and Monica – here is our first aerial view of the construction of Kivulini.
Electricity arrives at Kivulini.
The Kivulini Maternity Centre needs to engage with the Tanzanian community on many levels including both an awareness of its services by prospective mothers but also as a facility that the business community would wish to support. A small step in this process was our ceremonial ground breaking reported here in the English Language Arusha Times but also in the Swahili press.
In preparation for the ground breaking ceremonies for the Kivulini Maternity Centre, Mr Gao (our contractor’s site manager) has made this stony road into the heart of the building site.
It will be along this road that our patients will eventually arrive for treatment.
Having found water, the next phase for our hydrology team was to dig a ditch from source to site and then sink the pump that would pull and push water from one end to the other. A small piece of work, they said, but for the Maternity Africa team it is monumental. After so many months of delay, the soil is finally being dug and not even Queen Elizabeth with a bottle of champagne could make it feel more significant.
After drilling to nearly 200 metres without success on the Kivulini site we were beginning to give up hope. However, 500 metres down the road we were invited to try our luck on the property of Steve Brown and Monica Dunstan and after just 70 metres we have water at a very acceptable flow rate.