|The World Health Organisation and health officials in northern mountainous province of Cao Bang consider changing a part of Bao Lac District's hospital into to a maternity waiting home in 2003. — Photo baocaobang
CAO BANG (VNS) — Two waiting homes for mothers have significantly reduced maternity deaths over the past three years in the northern mountain province of Cao Bang.
Trieu Nguyet Hoa, deputy director of the provincial Reproductive Health Care Centre, said the homes, the first of their kind in the country, were set up in June, 2011, with financial and technical help from the World Health Organisation.
They were set up in Bao Lam and Bao Lac districts, which are noted for their bad roads. Until then, 70 to 90 per cent of women in the two districts, who are from the Tay, Nung, H'Mong and Dao ethnic people, bore their children at home instead of going to medical stations, said Hoa.
One maternity waiting home is in Bao Lam District General Hospital. It has five rooms and can serve 10 pregnant women. The other, in Bao Lac District General Hospital, has two rooms and can serve four pregnant women.
Pregnant women in remote areas, especially those at high risk of having a difficult delivery, can go to the maternity homes one or two weeks before their babies are due.
"While there, they receive health checks and care from medical workers," said Hoa.
Each woman staying in the maternity homes is given about VND25,000 (US$1.19) per day for meals. The money is from national, provincial and international supporting programmes.
So far the maternity waiting home in Bao Lac District has looked after nearly 200 pregnant women.
The other in Bao Lam District has handled nearly 150.
In previous years, on average, up to eight women in each district died each year during birth due to complications while giving birth at home, according to statistics.
However, Hoa said, encouraging local women to use the maternity homes was difficult because of the language barrier.
Pregnant women rarely went to medical stations for pre-birth checks so they did not know if they were likely to have a difficult delivery.
However, there are still problems getting them to attend. Most families are short of workers. If mothers go to a waiting home with a relative to take care of them, there is no one left home to cook or clean.
Most of the ethnic women are also so poor they do not have enough money to pay for travelling or meals.
Hoa suggested commune medical stations join hands with the provincial Women's Association to get more financial support for them. — VNS