Chigonella: ‘Waiting for Delivery’
Available languages: English
The sun has not yet reached the horizon when Sekela (36) and her husband begin their long jour-ney to the Chigonella maternity waiting home at the regional hospital in Dodoma, Tanzania. They leave their 7 children and house with the vegeta-ble garden behind, waiting for them.
Being 7 months pregnant, for Sekela the 5 day journey by foot will be strenuous, yet being her eleventh pregnancy the risk of developing compli-cations during birth is high and her local health facility is not sufficiently equipped. When Sekela finally arrives at the small crowded house next to Dodoma hospital she finds herself amongst many other pregnant women, all busy preparing their breakfast on small stoves in the courtyard. Their laughter and chatter filling the smoky air.
Like Sekela, these women aged between 15 and 48, have been referred to the waiting home through their local health facility because of the absence of skilled birth attendants and obstetric care.
Chigonella, meaning "those waiting for deliv-ery", is a small maternity waiting home estab-lished at the Dodoma regional hospital in 1992. Here four medical attendants and two nurses from the district health authorities are as-signed to ensure these women have a safe de-livery.
They work in shifts managing admissions and monitoring the health status and transfer the women to the nearby regional hospital shortly before delivery, or earlier should com-plications arise.
The advantages of maternity waiting homes such as the Chigonella in Dodoma are appar-ent. Through providing an opportunity for women, particularly those living in remote ar-eas, to wait for and access quality health care they contribute to reduce the mortality rates of mothers and their newborn children.
Download article to read more