Improving access to health care for pregnant women in central Mozambique

  • “We suffered at lot having our deliveries at home,” says heavily pregnant Ottilia Alberto who is staying at the Casa Mãe Espera. The 23-year-old who is having her third child travels around 14 kilometres from the village of Botone on her father’s motorbike to get to the maternity clinic. She could not get to the clinic in time before her last delivery and for that reason is relieved to have a waiting house available for pregnant women to wait for their due date.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Khatija Nxedlana
  • It will be Isabel Franzi’s first time using the Casa Mãe Espera when she gives birth to her eighth child in a few months. Her other children were born before the waiting house was built. Still fairly early on in her pregnancy, Isabel travels from Guinifaulo, about four kms away, for her monthly consultations.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Khatija Nxedlana
  • 19-year-old Amelia Quin lives a stone’s throw away from the Casa Mãe Espera. She’s given birth to two children at the hospital. While she personally doesn’t require accommodation at the Casa Mãe Espera because of its proximity to her house, she thinks its existence is a good idea for the many women in the area.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Khatija Nxedlana
  • It was the middle of the night when 21-year-old Anista Felix gave birth. Her husband was not home to take her to the local hospital by bike and it was her mother in law who helped her deliver the baby. Now, as she is expecting another baby, she is happy to have the Casa Mãe Espera available for all the pregnant women in the area. Anista Felix hails from Namashwinga which is ten kms away, a walk that can take her two hours to the hospital.
    CC BY-NC-ND / ICRC / Khatija Nxedlana
15 March 2020

Mozambique (ICRC) - Many pregnant women in the central Mozambique town of Cagole and surrounds give birth at home with some facing complications during delivery.

Without knowing their expected due date, some would travel distances of four to 14 kilometres to the nearest hospital where they would wait out the last few days or weeks of their pregnancy, even if that meant waiting under a tree or nearby hut.

To help pregnant women have better access to health care, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) built a home on the grounds of the maternity clinic to accommodate pregnant women. The construction of the home followed the rehabilitation of the Cagole Health Centre. The Cagole area was affected by armed violence between the government and armed opposition between 2013 and 2016.

The Casa Mae Espera in Cagole is one of six homes of this type built in Mozambique.