As a cleaner in Kiomboi hospital’s labour ward in Tanzania, Margaret Edson had two priorities: keep the facilities clean and keep mums and babies safe from infections.

But with no regular supply of clean water, and a poorly-constructed incinerator for getting rid of the hospital’s most dangerous waste, she was fighting a losing battle.

Some days she even had to climb inside the incinerator herself to remove the ashes, which had a worrying impact on her health.

“When you get inside there is a lot of dust,” Margaret told us. “It makes you dirty and can cause you chest pains.”

Cleaner Margaret Edson washes buckets in the sluice room at Kiomboi hospital, Tanzania.
Without enough safe water, Margaret faced an ongoing struggle to keep the labour wards clean at Kiomboi.

But this winter, everything changed for Margaret and her colleagues at Kiomboi.

Through our biggest-ever appeal, Deliver Life, we began major rebuilding work at the hospital – and it didn’t stop with taps and toilets.

“The buildings are all being renewed, the equipment has been improved and we have a new incinerator and all the pipes for water,” Margaret explained, as work got underway.

Now the project has been completed, the difference is clear.

“As a cleaner, water is really helping me,” Margaret says. “When I get to my job I am not looking for water anymore, just opening the tap and getting water. My job is becoming easy!”

Cleaner Margaret Edson stands in front of the existing incinerator as builders work on the new incinerator at Kiomboi hospital, Tanzania.
Margaret stands by the old incinerator, as work gets underway at Kiomboi.

It’s not just Margaret whose working day has improved dramatically. Now midwives like Juliana also have the safe water they need to do the job they trained for: delivering life safely.

Gone are the days of trying to clean medical equipment without enough safe water, or facing the dilemma of whether to deliver a baby without washing your hands.

Instead, the staff at Kiomboi are working together to create a safer, healthier environment for mums-to-be to give birth in – and giving every new arrival the best possible start in life.

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