Our Malawian sister nonprofit, Chimwemwe mu’bereki (Joyful Motherhood) also staffs part time nurses to care for at risk and recovering mothers after discharge to their home.
Here are a few of their stories:
Though HIV negative, Mary was severely malnourished and anemic and at the age of 23, immediately after delivery, she weighed only 84lbs. Because of her poor nutritional status she developed a severe infection after delivery and was hospitalized for some time. Still frail, she was discharged home and a nurse from Joyful Motherhood began following her. The nurse provided her with soya beans, maize, and ensured that she took her iron tablets. She has since gained 15lbs and has been able to successfully breastfeed her baby.
Tina had a difficult prolonged labor which resulted in a ruptured uterus. A hysterectomy was performed due to the rupture, which left her sterile. In her village because people believed that the rupture was caused by her infidelity and as a result of this misconception her husband left her and she experienced some stigmatization. The Joyful Motherhood nurse visited her in the village and monitored her recovery, and during those visits she also counseled Tina’s husband as well as the village elders to explain the reason her uterus ruptured. After several visits the community members understood the cause of the rupture and the urgency of getting a women to the hospital who is experiencing a difficult labor. Tina’s husband returned.
Christy has six children and with her most recent pregnancy she developed severe pre-eclampsia. Even once she returned to the village after delivery, her blood pressures hovered around 200/110 (high enough for a stroke or seizure). The Joyful Motherhood nurse checked on her regularly at home and served as her advocate ensuring that she was seen by a clinician until her blood pressure stabilized.
All the nurses report that the women who have received assistance, their families, and their communities express gratitude for this program each time a visit is made. Interestingly, the nurses themselves have also expressed their gratitude for the program. We have a policy of only hiring nurses who are working full-time for the government or retired nurses so as not to recruit nurses away from the public sector which is already stretched very thin. The government nurses typically earn anywhere from $80 to $200 each month (depending on their years of service), which – even in Malawi – is very hard to live on. They say that the salary they receive from their part-time work with Joyful Motherhood has assisted their families and improved their standard of living.
We are so proud of the work that is going on and of the nurses who are caring for these women and mothers. We hope that you also share this pride, as you are certainly an integral part of the force behind this work. We ask that you continue offering whatever monetary support you are able and, keep spreading the word.