Daw Pon maternity home in Myanmar is expanding and needs new equipment, beds and a water tank.
Why we care: Maternal deaths in Myanmar, long an impoverished and primarily rural country, are high: 200 for every 100,000 live births.
How we're solving this: By offering maternal health services and counseling, health education and child-development guidance.
Nu Nu Lwin, 32, arrived at the maternity home in Daw Pon Township in the Yangon region of Myanmar bleeding after a minor injury. She had already received medical care at the Maternal and Child Welfare Association maternity home for prenatal counseling. After the accident, she consulted with a midwife and was sent immediately to East Yangon Hospital, accompanied by the midwife and an outreach coordinator and her expenses covered.
The hospital provided her proper care, saving her life and the baby’s, thanks to the foresight of the maternity home, which is an active partner of UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, providing not only care for mothers but also for newborns and early childhood development programs to reduce maternal and infant deaths. The maternity home also referred Nu Nu Lwin to another essential treatment -- for HIV -- and eventually contraceptives. Her fees for these services were also covered by the maternity home.
The Daw Pon maternity home opened in 2002 and is a two-story building, offering maternity services downstairs and counseling, health education and child-development guidance upstairs. It is a strong model for improving maternal and child health. Maternal deaths in Myanmar, long an impoverished and primarily rural country, are high: 200 for every 100,000 live births. Fewer than half the women of reproductive age or their partners are using contraceptives, so high fertility rates abound.
The maternity home currently provides antenatal care to an average of 65 new patients each month and 180 existing patients. The staff provides assistance for approximately 60 normal deliveries per month and refers about 5 cases of complicated pregnancies to public hospitals. In addition, the maternity home provide family planning and birth spacing services including IUCD insertion.
Improving maternal health is widely accepted as a path to ending poverty, but it is generally an area that is underfinanced in poor countries. Myanmar has far too many women like Nu Nu Lwin at risk. In Daw Pon, women need counseling at all stages of their pregnancy and post-pregnancy, including information on how to prevent diseases, birth-spacing education, HIV prevention and sexual and reproductive health. The Myanmar Health Ministry and the Maternal and Child Welfare Association aim to provide such services through the maternity homes in urban and rural settings, but UNFPA helps fill the gaps at Daw Pon.
To increase support at Daw Pon, UNFPA needs $75,000 to continue to help the maternity home save lives and enable families to thrive. Specifically, Daw Pon requires some new equipment and reproductive health commodities, two delivery beds, minor repairs, a new water tank, a budget to pay referral fees and more training for the staff and volunteers.
All women deserve the best care in pregnancy and afterward, as do their newborns and children. By helping to improve the lives of women in Myanmar, you are saving others, too, offering optimal chances for survival like this mother at Daw Pon, who just gave birth to a health boy on Sept. 10, 2012.