By Mtondera Munthali, White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRASM), Citizen Journalist/Midwife
Delivering at Mzuzu Health Centre five months ago was uncomfortable both for the patients, their caretakers, and the health workers. The labour ward was a hall with demarcations by curtains to divide the space between beds, something that contravenes both visual and audio-privacy from patient to patient. It also hindered the presence of companions during delivery especially male counterparts. Because the curtains can easily slide away, the structure of the former maternity ward was prone to violation of privacy of the patients.
Midwives were not happy with arrangement because it was a barrier to male involvement that they were advocating for and it was a barrier to audio and visual privacy of the women during delivery.
Being the only government primary health care service provider, Mzuzu Health Centre is very busy and gets about 300 deliveries every month. A heavy workload, as is the case for most midwives, coupled with the discomfort while helping women to deliver, midwives were unhappy.
However, all this is history as Elizabeth Glazer Paediatric Aids Foundation (EGPAF) recently renovated the maternity wing of Mzuzu Health Centre.
Commenting on the development, some clients and guardians were very happy with the development saying their spouses will be accompanying them during delivery and thanked EGPAF for the renovation that they have carried out in the maternity wing.
EGPAF renovated the maternity department by demarcating it into cubicles. Some of the nurses working in the labor ward said that this is a good development because male companions will now be allowed to attend to their wives during delivery, something which was not possible before.
Additionally, the wall demarcations have left the labour ward with six cubicles instead of the previous five meaning that there is more room for expectant mothers to deliver. (Were some mothers delivering on the floor before this? Wondering…)
According to the nurses, the demarcations helps them to divide themselves during task allocation into the cubicles which is helping in the quality of care being provided to the patients.