What we do
The project includes several interrelated components. Let me take you through some of them…
- We've engaged the services of proficient and passionate nurse-midwives to oversee the programme at each clinic and to provide skilled delivery and prenatal care services.
- We’re training former traditional birth attendants to be specialized community health workers. The approximately 500 individuals who we’ve trained thus far now provide health education in their communities and physically accompany women to the clinic to access antenatal care, HIV testing and treatment and delivery services. They all receive ongoing training and a stipend for performing these services each month.
- At each health clinic we’re building or renting mothers' waiting houseswhere women can reside for up to three weeks prior to their due date. As you can imagine, given the challenges of just travelling to a clinic, this is extremely important in assuring that the women of rural Lesotho are able to deliver their babies at a health facility with a skilled nurse-midwife present. Collaboration on this project has recently grown and the World Food Programme in Lesotho is now working with us to provide food to the houses.
- We’ve put in place meaningful incentives for mothers to visit the health clinics for care and to deliver their babies. Specifically, we provide new mothers with baby packages that include hats, a blanket, a washtub, soap, clothing and also hygiene items that will allow them to better care for their baby.
- A project currently under negotiation is the rehabilitation of a local hospital to accommodate women who require a caesarean section. A key factor in this project’s success will be the elimination of any fee. It has previously been found that removing this cost can lead to a three-or four-fold increase in the utilisation of services within a matter of weeks. [PIH Lesotho removed user fees at Mamohau Hospital as of April 1, 2011. In the first few days, patient volume more than tripled, from 55/day to 175/day. See story at:https://www.pih.org/article/removing-user-fees-dramatically-increases-patient-visits-in-lesotho].