On March 8th 2020, the International Day of the Rights of Women, Ibutwa began a new partnership with the maternity care center Mère-Enfant, a health center located in Uvira territory in the South Kivu Region of the DR Congo. In French, Mère-Enfant translates to Mother-Child Center. This new partnership will provide accessible and affordable childbirth help to women in need.
Expecting a child may be a happy event in other places, but in Uvira in particular, and the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo in general, it’s an ordeal that many pregnant women undergo. The expense of care in childbirth is not accessible to all women, which obliges them to try to give birth in their communities with only the aid of matrons, to avoid becoming prisoners in health-care facilities because they lack the funds for maternal care. The rate of maternal mortality is 625 deaths out of 100,000 live births, and it is among the highest rates in the world. Poverty constitutes a barrier to access to a risk-free childbirth with qualified medical care. The rate of cesarean births is also high; women who cannot pay the cost find themselves confined in health-care facilities for many months.
Over the course of the next three months, Ibutwa will take on Mère-Enfant expenses for eutocic [natural, unproblematic] childbirths as well as pay for the expense of child births, including caesareans, to women in situations of great financial insecurity. Ibutwa will be contributing a total of $500 US Dollars with the hope of providing a system that makes qualified help in childbirth accessible and available, even free for women in precarious financial situations, and guarantees the availability of qualified midwives 24 hours a day.
This partnership, which is in its initial phase, aims to diminish considerably the number of childbirths at home and in prayer rooms without qualified aid for delivery, and to avoid detaining women in maternity facilities for lack of funds to pay for delivery. This will noticeably reduce the rate of maternal, neonatal, and infant mortality, as well as the complications linked to childbirth in Uvira. The number of women in great financial insecurity kept in various health-care facilities will gradually disappear.
At the end of the four months, July 2020, the partnership will be evaluated for renewal with the possibility to be extended to Kamanyola, a village in South Kivu in the territory of Walungu, where there are also a great number of home births.