Deliver Life: safer births at Kiomboi
Meet the twins and triplets born with clean water as we revisit Kiomboi Hospital one year on from our Deliver Life appeal.
When we first shared the story of life in the maternity wards of Kiomboi Hospital, Tanzania, 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 campaign, has meant incredible progress for mums, babies and midwives around the world since then.
Juliana, a midwife at Kiomboi, knows her work will always be challenging. But the changes at the hospital will only make her job 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."
It's been four years since Christina, a singer in her local church choir, visited Kiomboi to give birth to her first child. This year, she returned - and left with twins!
“There is a big difference compared to the previous time," Christina explains. "We have water from the taps all the time, the hospital is clean and the midwives were very friendly. I am so excited to go home with my babies!”
And while Christina will be kept busy with the two new additions to her family, Mary Erasto will have her hands even more full: she's just given birth to triplets.
Mary appreciated the privacy that she had for bathing in Kiomboi, something which wasn't possible before. She tells us that the standards at the hospital were high all round: "Because of the clean environment I always felt like I was in a private hospital not a public one.”
In the neonatal intensive care unit, midwife Daniel Paul says that since the hospital was rehabilitated, more and more women like Christina and Mary are coming to have their babies delivered safely in Kiomboi.
And while the number of mothers-to-be visiting the hospital has gone up, Daniel has seen the number of babies lost to diseases like sepsis dramatically decrease. A more hygienic environment, thankfully, has meant a safer start to life.
“These days we have clean water all the time,” he reflects. “As a result my work has become more enjoyable.”