Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Maternal health challenges in rural Mozambique

Listen to an NPR feature here. The story highlights rural-urban differences in the availability of health care. An excerpt featuring one such contrast follows:
In the countryside, more than half the babies born are delivered like Belita's was: not in a health facility, but at home. The women are often attended by a relative or friend, but not by a skilled health worker. The risks are great for both mother and child.

So the government is trying to encourage women to have their babies in maternity units, like the one at the Rural Hospital of Monapo.

The irony in this government policy becomes apparent as the story goes on to describe the grim conditions in the Monapo hospital, including blood-stained sheets, lack of a fetal heart monitor, and no doctor on duty. Then comes the contrast with an urban facility:

As unforgiving as conditions are at the Monapo rural hospital, some 40 miles away in the city of Nacala, there is a brand-new hospital painted a creamy yellow. It's spotless.

the story goes on to describe how Mozambique is dealing with a doctor shortage by training nurse practitioners to perform a range of surgeries, from c-sections to hysterectomies, at hospitals like the one in Ncala.

A second story, this one announcing this NPR series on maternal health and providing more details about the Mozambique situation, is here.

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