Salome John is a young woman who is an example of how community-led maternal health interventions can contribute to the reduction of maternal mortality rates in a resources starved health set up. She resides in Chiporwa Village which is 18 kilometers from the nearest Health Centre.
Salome is a proud mother of 5 that include a set of triplets thanks to the timely intervention by a member of the taskforce.
Before getting exposed to taskforces in her area, Salome had delivered one of her children at a TBA and the other one on her way to the TBA. It almost became a norm to her that when she got pregnant for the third time she did not plan to handle it differently.
But her mother in-law feared for her life this time around and she did not know how to convince her daughter in-law on the importance of receiving proper maternity care at a health facility. After pondering on the best approach to take she decided to alert the taskforce in the community about her daughter in-law being pregnant.
Not knowing what is happening behind closed doors; Salome had a surprise visit from the taskforce and she was encouraged to begin attending antenatal clinic and to also be part of the women group so that she can be able to identify maternal and newborn health problems. Without much hesitation, she started attending antenatal although in the second trimester.
Unlike in her previous pregnancies, Salome had access to prenatal care. She learned about maternal danger signs during one of her antenatal visits to the facility.
Approximately seven months into her pregnancy, she “swelled up,” according to her husband. The task force member who had come for his routine door to door home visits noted the condition and immediately advised the village chief to arrange for a bicycle ambulance to take Salome to the health facility.
After three days in the hospital, she delivered triplets through C section. After eight more days in the hospital she was discharged and she is now a happy mother of healthy triplets.
MaiKhanda trust has been implementing a project titled; improving maternal and neonatal outcomes in Ntchisi District which was being funded by Comic relief from July 2014 to June 2017. The project recruited and trained 122 taskforce committees. The work being done by the taskforce committee in addressing maternal and child health issues has been effective in increasing the number of skilled deliveries from 62% at baseline to over 90%. Knowledge of at least two danger signs by women of reproductive age in the perinatal period has also increased to 75% for danger signs during delivery from 60% at baseline and after delivery from 50 to 63%.