In Malawi, a pregnant woman faces a one in seven risk of dying during pregnancy, childbirth, or the postpartum period. Women who survive pregnancy-related hemorrhage, sepsis, eclampsia or other health crises at the time of delivery often face additional struggles once discharged home. AMHI’s Mother Care Program identifies critically ill postpartum women at Bwaila Maternity Hospital and Kamuzu Central Hospital. These women are paired with a Joyful Motherhood nurse who follows the woman to her home community and provides support for her there, discharging her from our program only once she has regained her health and her situation has stabilized.
Each visit by a nurse involves a physical assessment of the convalescing mother (e.g. blood pressure, temperature, anemia, medication adherence), assessment of the home environment (e.g. mosquito net use, food stability), and assessment of her ability to care for her newborn (e.g. breast milk production, growth and well-being of the newborn). Nurses then educate the mother, household members, and community members on related key health issues. Community leaders are involved and collaborate on the creation of a community emergency plan, which outlines exactly how a laboring or critically ill woman or child would be transported to a health care facility. In addition to the assessments, education, community mobilization, nurses provide supplemental food packages – consisting of items such as soya, groundnuts, and beans – to women living in homes with food instability.