Rebuilt birth center gives hope to new mothers

Reporting by Ankush Chalise & Aaron Aspi

Suman’s birth has brought tremendous joy to his family.

His mother Amrita, 25, gently carries him in her arms, while her playful daughter Aakriti, 7, sits by her side. Her husband Krishna, 27, was home for the birth, but is leaving Nepal soon to resume his job as a driver in the Middle East.

Amrita is grateful that her baby is strong and well. She is one of the mothers who benefited from the newly renovated Palungtar Birthing Center in her community.

"Rebuilding damaged health facilities and providing female community health workers with support is essential to make sure primary health care services reach earthquake-hit communities."

“I went to the birthing center for regular check-ups and it was helpful and reassuring to have the nearby birthing center ready by the time I gave birth,” Amrita shared.

Like many other health infrastructures in Gorkha, the 2015 earthquake also affected the birthing center. With major cracks and damage, it was unable to function properly.

 

The birthing center, newly renovated by World Vision.

Before World Vision took the responsibility of repairing the building, service was provided to pregnant women and mothers from a makeshift tent in early days and then shifted to a small room near the exit the damaged building. With reconstructed and repainted walls, new beds and equipment -- the birthing center has become a safe haven for women in the community. Four staff members are on standby, so that the birthing center can be open for up to 24 hours as needed.

"Rebuilding damaged health facilities and providing female community health workers with support is essential to make sure primary health care services reach earthquake-hit communities,” shared Moniek Kindred, World Vision’s Health and Nutrition Advisor for the Nepal Earthquake Response.

 

Auxiliary Nurse Midwife Sunita emerges from the renovated birthing center.

In addition to the renovation, World Vision also provided other equipment to the birthing center to help them continue to provide quality service to community.

Sanjay Kumar Nidhi, the Health and Nutrition Specialist for World Vision Nepal Earthquake Response said, "After the reconstruction, it was adequately equipped along with the solar backup system. Capacity building of staff on the technical aspects of medical equipment is in our future plan so that they will be able to use the resources properly."

According to Auxiliary Nurse Midwife (ANM) Sunita, this birthing center serves more than 2,000 households in Palungtar Village Development Committee (VDC) as well as adjacent VDCs that lack proper birthing facilities. She is proud to say that the maternal and neonatal death rate has declined dramatically after this center started here in 2009.

A year after the earthquake, more than 5,600 mothers in affected areas have benefitted from hygiene promotion and community counseling on maternal and child health and nutrition (MCHN). More than 400 women also received clean delivery kits as part of health interventions in World Vision-assisted districts in Nepal.