GPAF IMP 088 Zimbabwe
According to a 2017 study by the Centre for Population Studies in Zimbabwe, Maternal mortality rates – the number of mothers who die while pregnant – have risen sharply over the past 25 years. ‘The rise,’ the study states, ‘is due to deliveries without skilled care in places without appropriate or adequate facilities to handle complications.’
This tragic increase has also been exacerbated by on going food shortages caused by a drought in Zimbabwe. ADRA worked between November 2013 and October 2016 to improve maternal health care services for 7,500 women (including pregnant women and girls of reproductive age) in 5 wards of Gokwe North District. This was achieved by:
1). Improving maternal health facilities at 4 clinics – construction of Waiting Mother’s Homes at 4 clinics, provision of clean water through borehole drilling and solar powered electricity; transport provision for emergency cases.
2). Improving delivery of maternal health service by health care providers – capacity building through training of health staff village health workers, Ward Health Committees and facilitation of the NGO forum at district level.
3) Increasing awareness and utilisation amongst women of maternal health services in target clinics – maternal and reproductive health awareness sensitisation to the target groups for behaviour change.
4) Increased awareness on health risks and services amongst communities – capacity building for communities: boys, men, WCBA, girls, schools through clubs and forums to enhance participation and involvement.
ADRA’s reach in Gokwe North, Zimbabwe extended far beyond the project’s timeline because we sought to change negative behavioural practices and attitudes towards positive behavioural practices and attitudes around maternal health.
ADRA needed to infiltrate the systematic cultural nuances which lacked trust in the health system, a health system which was working to heal and protect, not kill. We needed to challenge the perspectives and thoughts of Village Heads and husbands regarding the conditions that make a safe delivery, safe.
We acknowledged the community’s fears surrounding young women dying during birth and openly discussed past experiences and pain. At the end of the project, we collectively agreed a healthy mother equates to a healthy baby. An educated mother equates to a healthy growing baby. A strong and utilised health system equates to a healthy community.
We recognised the incredible work contributed by our team of health experts in Zimbabwe. As a result of their efforts, the responsibility of good maternal health care practices now lies with the community and their local health clinics.
Start date: 01/11/2013
End date: 31/10/2016
Grant amount: £721,904
ADRA-UK match: £253,642
Total budget: £975,547
Implementing office: ADRA Zimbabwe