Fatouma Katungu is pregnant with her second baby. Though the queasiness and little kicks feel similar to her first pregnancy, a lot of things are different the second time around. This time, she's going to prenatal checkups with a trained midwife, and this time she'll deliver her baby at a health center.
With her first baby, Fatouma's only option was to deliver at home. That's because there are so few medical facilities and qualified professionals where she lives in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Thankfully she and her baby survived labor and delivery, but so many others don't.
The World Health Organization estimates that every day, 810 women die from complications of childbirth, most of which are entirely preventable. And in sub-Saharan Africa alone, more than 5 million infants die each year because of a lack of health care.
While organizations like Corus World Health have helped to reduce maternal and infant mortality significantly in the last 30 years, there's still more work to do for mothers like Fatouma.
Increasing access to prenatal care and assisted deliveries
At Corus World Health, we have seen firsthand that women and babies are more likely to survive childbirth when a trained medical professional is there to help, and children are more likely to live past their 5th birthday when their mother receives prenatal care. For decades, donors like you have made it possible for basic health care to reach mothers and babies in conflict zones, slums and remote villages where it’s needed most.
The antenatal clinic where nurse Kavuo Godelive attends to Fatouma is brand new. In 2018, this area became the "hot zone" of the DRC's largest recorded Ebola outbreak, exposing just how inadequate the health care system was — not only for fighting a deadly disease like Ebola, but also for supporting the communities' basic health needs.
Because of your partnership, we have been able to improve the health infrastructure in the region, including building and supporting this new clinic to give mothers and babies a healthier start … because every child deserves a healthy mother, and every mother needs access to basic health care.
Making safe births and healthy lives possible
After nurse Godelive listens for a heartbeat, she also takes time to ask about Fatouma's diet, or if anyone in her family has been ill with symptoms of Ebola. There's even public access to clean water at the clinic, promoting life-saving hygiene both inside the building and in the broader community.
We are a part of creating a better, brighter world when we ensure access to health care for everyone, even in the poorest communities. It's the kind of world we want Fatouma’s baby to experience — not only when she takes her first breath, but also well beyond her 5th birthday.