In the course of 2007, the centre began offering maternity facilities including prenatal checkups for pregnant women. The building previously used as a residence has now been converted and includes a waiting room with two beds for the use of women about to deliver, and two post-natal rooms each with two beds. There is also a general-purpose room. In addition there is a kitchen, toilets, and wash-room. The most recent addition is a family room where the members of the pregnant woman’s family can be accommodated.
The Centre’s aim is to offer proper maternity services in a poor and remote area with limited access to proper medical facilities. These are provided in the form of antenatal care, actual delivery of babies, and post-natal care.
The maternity unit is equipped with all necessary medical material and fully complies with the norms and rules of the Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi.
In complicated or serious cases, the woman is taken to the hospital in Rumphi.
Maternity services are carried out by our resident nurse/midwife, and, more recently, by a second nurse/midwife. Additional medical personnel complete the team.
An important point of attention is the need to convince women of the advantages of attending the clinic for antenatal care as well as for the delivery. A shocking statistic is that one Malawian woman in eighteen dies in the process of giving birth.
Though in itself a tremendously positive new development, the opening of the maternity unit has placed a heavier burden on the Centre’s transport system. Previously, it was impossible for the Centre to guarantee that one vehicle would always be available for emergency cases requiring a woman (and other non-maternity patients where indicated) to be taken to the hospital.
But, since early 2009 the Centre has been fortunate enough to acquire its own ambulance specifically for this task.