Hadjara and her baby

Making childbirth safer for mothers in Niger

Located in Maradi Region, Dan Dassey health hut serves a population of ​​3,171 people and is one of nine health centres in Sabon Machi and Kornaka communes. Through the Evidence to Action (E2A) Project, funded by USAID and led by Pathfinder International in collaboration with World Vision, the health facility benefited from a water point which contributes to the provision of safe water and improved hygiene conditions for community members. As part of the project, health workers also received training in order to deliver quality pre- and post-natal services, and quality child care.

With the improved water supply in Dan Dassey health hut, workers at the health facility testify of the effects they've witnessed firsthand. "Many women prefer to give birth there. Others even travel for miles just to give birth there" says Dan Farou, a leading members of Saboua, another health hut. “As a result of improved water provision in Dan Dassey, residents of our health area no longer come here for child delivery in our health hut. Many women choose to travel for three kilometres and go to Dan Dassey to give birth. One inhabitant even told me that he preferred taking his wife to give birth to Dan Dassey despite the fact that all her pre-natal consultations were in my health hut; simply because there is water in Dan Dassey. Whereas, here, he has to go to the well to fetch dirty water, which is not safe to drink at all.”

The manager of Dan Dassey health hut confirmed too that he receives pregnant women from neighbouring health huts. He noticed an increase in attendance by women at the health facility in the second quarter of 2020, when they recorded 16 deliveries, compared to 11 in the first quarter. He added that if implementing partners can continue to work jointly with Government and expand this initiative to all healthcare facilities, more women like 19-year-old Hadjara Abdou will be able to choose health centres that can keep them and their babies safe from infection and other complications during pregnancy and childbirth.

"My name is Hadjara Abdou and I am 19 years old. Today is a special day; I wore this veil which is very meaningful to me, the same one I wore on my wedding day because I gave birth to my first born in Dan Dassey. I did my pre-natal consultation in this health centre and I saw how women used to struggle in order to get water for their delivery. Some used to come with jerrycans for their childbirth. It was not easy even for health workers to keep delivery rooms clean because of the lack of water. Now that water is available in this health centre, things are easier for mothers and also for health workers. I had the chance to deliver my child and first born in Dan Dassey health hut and thanks to water accessibility, I gave birth in good hygiene conditions. I am grateful for having been able to give birth without a problem, and above all in the best conditions’’ A happy Hadjara told us, whilst cradling her newborn daughter in her hands.

Integrating maternal and child care, reproductive health, and water and nutrition services is a powerful approach to improve community health. Thanks to the E2A joint project, two integrated health centres and seven health huts including Dan Dassey health hut are benefiting tremendously from a water facility. Evidence that the availability of water, coupled with strengthened health services, offer enabling conditions for healthcare workers to save the lives of mothers and newborns.