Two midwives from Liverpool Women’s Hospital will head to Tanzania this Saturday to help deliver babies in a maternity unit where all midwives have to rely on are buckets of water.
Delia Jepson and Cheryl Stanley, who both appeared in the Channel 4 series One Born Every Minute, will swap the modern facilities of the Liverpool hospital for the much more basic conditions of Kiomboi Hospital, as part of an international charity campaign.
The ‘Deliver Life’ appeal, will be the biggest campaign ever run by international charity Wateraid, whose mission is to improve access to safe water, sanitation and hygiene, all over the world.
Midwife, Delia Jepson said: “I am feeling very excited about the trip but also very nervous as I don’t really know what to expect. Clean water is the most important thing that midwives need to have to make sure that the mothers and babies are safe.”
At Kiomboi Hospital Delia and Cheryl will be working shifts alongside their Tanzanian peers, Ester Manga and Daniel Paul, gaining hands on experience into how challenging it can be for midwives to provide a safe environment for mothers and babies when there is no running water.
Their first duty in the morning will be to fill the buckets that line the ward with water to last throughout the day. Then as they work, they will have to wash their hands between patients by pouring out a small teapot of water. They will also see new mothers having to take their first wash after giving birth in water fetched from a nearby river.
Dianne Brown, Director of Nursing and Midwifery at Liverpool Women’s Hospital, said: “We are delighted to be able to support two of our midwives to be part of this project and see the reality of midwifery care in a completely different setting to what they are used to here at Liverpool Women’s. As nurses and midwives we are blessed to work in a fantastic hospital surrounded by both the expertise and all of the equipment and basics needed to deliver safe and effective care. To imagine that we would have to deliver babies here in Liverpool without access to fresh water is unthinkable and hard to even imagine. The impact of this initiative will without a doubt change lives.”
WaterAid works in 37 countries across Africa, Asia, Central America and the Pacific Region to transform lives by improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation in some of the world’s poorest communities. Its ‘Deliver Life’ appeal will see the lives of up to 130,000 mums transformed. The staff, patients, mothers and their babies at Kiomboi will gain access to safe water and proper toilets for the first time.
Barbara Frost, WaterAid Chief Executive, said: “All of us want to see every newborn baby having the best possible start in life. Mums and dads expect their children to be born into a safe, healthy and clean environment. Midwives and hospital staff want to be able to do the job that they were trained for – to deliver life. Sadly none of this is possible without safe water, toilets or good hygiene.”
Midwives in Kiomboi Hospital report that every week they see at least one case of sepsis – a severe infection caused by unhygienic conditions that can easily kill mothers and babies. Every minute around the world a newborn baby dies from infection caused by a lack of safe water and an unclean environment.
Mrs Frost added: “We are really grateful to Liverpool Women’s Hospital for supporting this trip to highlighting this critical issue. By working alongside the midwives at Kiomboi, Delia and Cheryl will be experiencing first hand just how hard it is for a midwife to practise safe deliveries where there are inadequate latrines and where there is no running water for hand washing and for keeping the birthing centre clean.”
During the appeal, every £1 given by the UK public will be doubled by the UK Government, so WaterAid can reach twice as many mums around the world. The charity will give them, their newborns and their families a brighter start and a better future through clean, safe water, proper toilets and better hygiene.
In the weeks following the midwives’ visit, WaterAid will transform life at the hospital by installing a clean and reliable water supply, installing safe toilets and working with staff to improve hygiene practices.
For more information on ‘Deliver Life’ please go to www.wateraid.org.uk