Life delivered: safer births thanks to clean water

Thumbnail WaterAid/ James Kiyimba

Meet the midwives and the babies they've delivered with clean water since our Deliver Life appeal.

When we first shared the story of life in the maternity wards of Kiomboi Hospital, Tanzania, in 2015, its piped water system had broken down, its toilets no longer worked and its midwives struggled to maintain the hygiene practices needed for safe births. The extraordinary generosity of the British public, who helped us raise almost £5 million during our Deliver Life appeal, has meant incredible progress for mums, babies and midwives around the world since then.

Juliana, Tanzania

Juliana, a midwife at Kiomboi, knows her work will always be challenging. But the changes at the hospital have made her job a lot easier. “Comparing how the situation was then with what we have today, I am seeing a big difference," she says. "It’s very easy for me to wash my hands after helping a mother; there is reduced infection and mothers are happy to come to deliver here."

Midwife Juliana with one-day-old Fatuma, Kiomboi District Hospital, Tanzania.
WaterAid/ James Kiyimba
Midwife, Juliana , with one-day-old Fatuma, Kiomboi District Hospital, Tanzania.

Samuel, Rwanda

The Deliver Life project also reached Nzangwa Health Centre in Rwanda, where Samuel tells us the difference that clean water has made: "In the past, mothers were obliged to carry their own water. Now we have clean water that we can wash with, and the mothers can wash before they go home. It makes our practice not only easier but also safer for us and the mothers we help." Samuel is passionate about his job, so the changes mean a lot to him: "Seeing a mother who is in pain and then helping her to deliver and giving her the baby - you see her happy to be holding it in her arms, I think that's an amazing thing to behold."

Samuel Nshimyumukita, 30, nurse-midwife, with Ruth Nyirahabimana, 24, and her baby, Uwamahoro Emeline, at Nzangwa Health Centre, Kintambwe, Rweru, Bugesera, Rwanda
WaterAid/ Behailu Shiferaw
Samuel Nshimyumukita, midwife, with Ruth Nyirahabimana, 24, and her baby, Uwamahoro Emeline, at Nzangwa Health Centre, Rwanda

Ludia, Malawi

Meanwhile, in Malawi, midwife Ludia told us that she had wanted to leave the health centre where she worked because working without clean water was so difficult. "Imagine a seven or nine-month pregnant woman carrying a bucket of water to the hospital for more than four kilometres. It was heartbreaking." She carried on because 118 villages rely on the care they receive here - now it's so much safer and she's glad she stayed. 

Ludia Chilembwe, washing her hands before treating a patient, Chamwabvi Health Centre, Malawi.
WaterAid/ Dennis Lupenga
Ludia Chilembwe, washing her hands before treating a patient, Chamwabvi Health Centre, Malawi.