Two years later, once Maria was ready to try again after struggling with the trauma of her tragic loss, she conceived again. With the celebration of the happy occasion came fear and apprehension.
“I was stressed and often imagined that I was going to die and leave my other children,” Maria told our teams.
Since Maria’s last birth experience, UNICEF-trained Village Health Workers (VHWs) have been integrated into Maria’s community as part of a UNICEF Australia Community Empowerment and Intervention Program.
These workers participated in community outreach activities, helping to increase knowledge and awareness of maternal, newborn and child health and other important social issues.
With the reassurance of this intervention from UNICEF Australia, Maria felt compelled to try a safer delivery option and received an early prenatal reservation at a health facility.
“I felt empowered and confident to do
decisions about my sexual and reproductive health.
Maria explained, “Selected village health workers from our religious sect came to our community and shared with us the benefits of early prenatal bookings and facility deliveries, especially safe delivery and child care. children.
“Hearing a message from one of our own made me feel empowered and confident in making decisions about my sexual and reproductive health. ”
She visited her local clinic for antenatal care for the first time and received counseling. With the presence of skilled and experienced birth attendants and health workers, safe deliveries are now possible.
Maria is one of more than 7,000 pregnant women reached by VHW’s educational activities in Mashonaland Central last year.
“As I approached my due date, my husband took me to the main town, along with my youngest children, to stay with his sister near the hospital,” says Maria.
“He was also worried given my previous birth experience. He continued to pray for me and the baby.
“I became motivated after my first childbirth experience at the health center and made regular visits to make sure all my children were receiving other services such as vaccinations, which my other children did not have. previously. “