Newly constructed, well-equipped maternity wing at Bua Health Center ensures respectful maternity care and hygienic deliveries. Stories

3 September, 2020

Bua health center is a government health facility in Kasungu district, Malawi. It serves a catchment population of more than 47,427, with 10,908 women of childbearing age. With limited resources for facilities maintenance and equipment, Bua health center struggles to meet the needs of the clients.

With the aim of improving maternal newborn health outcomes and reducing maternal and neonatal  mortality, the Integrated Pathways to Maternal, Newborn and Child Health Project (InPATH), invested in Bua health center, undertaking much needed rehabilitation of the facility, constructing a new maternity wing and providing essential Emergency Obstetric and Newborn Care equipment. The newly constructed modern maternity wing includes a spacious labour room, dedicated rooms for providing services for antenatal care, family planning, post abortion care, sterilization and a resting bay for  health workers.  The newly constructed maternity wing was handed over to the district government on 27 November 2019 and is providing quality services since then. Bua is one of 16 health centers in Kasungu district that have benefited from InPATH support.

Bua health center client, Chinsinsi Banda, a 23-year old mother of two noted the remarkable difference in the center’s service provision quality because of InPATH’s investment, having given birth to her first child before the construction and rehabilitation in 2015 and her second child, in December 2019. Chinsinsi elaborated that her first delivery took place in an old, small room of the health center, which was not conducive to the provision of quality maternal services, remarking, “It had a little space and no running water”.
Chinsinsi recalls the experience of her first deliver

“As far as my memory serves me, , the time that we were coming for labor before the InPATH Project, I was told to bring candles and matches, the situation was bad because the candles were producing insufficient light and the room only had two delivery beds; some of the expectant women delivered on the floor. This was unhygienic and undignified care, similar to delivering at home.”

In December 2019, Chinsinsi gave birth to her second child in a hugely improved health center delivering in a large, well-lit and well-equipped maternity room.  “I also delivered at night but we had electricity throughout the night until in the morning because the building has solar powered backup which provides adequate light. What is more, even the treatment from health workers was friendly. The beds were enough, a big space and an exciting environment with running water in every room including bathrooms and toilets,” she said.

The facility in-charge, Francisco Ngwenya, agrees with the Chinsinsi’s sentiments, saying, “From the day this wing was officially opened on 27 November 2019 we have recorded an increase in number of deliveries. In December 2018, we had 58 deliveries compared to 151 in December 2019. In January 2019, we had 63 deliveries compared to 159 in January 2020 and in February 2019 we had 32 deliveries compared to 130 in February 2020. This shows that the new maternity wing is attracting more expectant women to come and deliver here.”

About the Integrated Pathways for Improving Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (InPATH) Project The Integrated Pathways for Improving Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health (InPATH) Project is a four and half year, CAD 25.8 million multi-sectoral programme (2016-2021) funded by Global Affairs Canada,  One Drop Foundation and JCM Power and in implemented through a consortium of three partners led by CowaterSogema ,  Plan Canada and the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada in close collaboration with Ministry of Health and Population in Malawi. The goal of 2016-2021 InPATH project is to con­tribute towards the reduction of maternal and child mortality in Kasungu, Chitipa and Salima districts of Malawi.  To do so, this project is addressing the capacity gaps of skilled health personnel by building local-level capacity of  facility and com­munity-based health workers; the need for safe and hygienic environment for deliveries, antena­tal and postnatal care through improved water and sanitation at health facilities; and the involve­ment of citizens in local-level decision making for MNCH service delivery through strengthened local governance structures and mechanisms for citizen engagement.

Caption: Before (insert) and after picture of new Bua Maternity Unit built by InPATH project

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