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In the small southern African country of Lesotho, approximately one out of every four adults is HIV positive. For young mothers, the chances of a safe and successful childbirth are greatly reduced.
In 2009, Partners In Health Lesotho (PIHL) began a program using traditional birth attendants (TBA)—local traditional midwives—to provide women living in Lesotho’s rural mountain villages with access to comprehensive services. During its first seven months, the program recorded 399 antenatal visits at the PIHL-sponsored Bobete clinic, 250 pregnant women counselled by TBAs, 172 tested for HIV, 64 mothers giving birth at the Bobete clinic, and a survey completed of 7,655 women of childbearing age to establish baseline data for monitoring and future evaluation of the project.
Because the difficult traveling conditions for expectant mothers, PIHL rented waiting houses near the clinic that can shelter six women at a time.
To encourage the women to use these health services, PIHL also provides new mothers who fulfill certain criteria (get tested for HIV, attend at least three antenatal visits, and deliver their baby at the clinic) with a new baby package, which includes baby clothing, pins, and a bathtub. During the program’s first six months, PIHL distributed 60 new baby packages.
GreaterGood.org supports this and other PIH programs through Gifts That Give More [tm] at The Child Health Site.
Photograph above from Partners In Health of a mother and twins born at PIHL sponsored clinic.