The infant mortality rate in rural Zambia is still 1 in 10 children…what can we do?
Mothers like Rachael, who rode one hour on the back of a bicycle to give birth at Chibombo Rural Clinic, have a difficult decision to make when it comes to giving birth. Do they attempt miles of difficult travel to go to the nearest clinic, where they may not have access to sanitary conditions, or do they give birth at home, without medical assistance?
For many, the physical and financial cost of getting to a clinic is not worth the gain. Clinics are often under-staffed and under-resourced, without even a latrine for the mothers to use while they labor. Here is where we come in! Fountain of Life is currently raising funds to build a birthing/maternity unit at the Chibombo Rural Health Clinic. The new unit will provide delivery rooms, maternity wards, running water, and bathroom facilities for expectant and new mothers. A key objective of the project is to increase the number of births taking place at the clinic, instead of in village homes, reducing the infant and mother mortality rate in this community.
In May 2014, community leaders including Village Chef Liteta attended the groundbreaking ceremony for a new maternity ward – a 1,500-sq-ft addition that will serve three women pre-natal, two in delivery and three in recovery. The new facility will include running water, toilets and showers. This is a dramatic improvement over the current clinic, where all women have to share one ward of four beds and a small delivery room with no running water or sanitation; the closest toilet is a 20-foot walk to a pit latrine.