In rural Zambia, health facilities are sparse, roads are unpaved and transportation is unreliable. Only half of Zambian families live within three miles of a health facility and they may have to cross rough terrain to get there. Women experience significant transportation challenges with few having access to cars or bicycles. For many pregnant women, it can be nearly impossible to access quality care in a timely fashion. If an emergency arises, this distance challenge can become a matter of life and death.
The Maternity Waiting Homes Alliance aims to overcome this distance challenge by building and strengthening maternity waiting homes — residences near health facilities where pregnant women can stay until they go into labor and immediately after childbirth. The goal is to make these homes sustainable by empowering local communities to both effectively manage them and generate income to support their operations through creative entrepreneurial activities, therefore ensuring the homes and the services they provide are available for the long term.
Watch this video to learn about the Alliance’s first maternity waiting home built in Lundazi:
MSD for Mothers, known as Merck for Mothers in the U.S. and Canada, is a proud member of the Maternity Waiting Homes Alliance. The Alliance is a collaboration between MSD for Mothers, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and The ELMA Foundation, with partners Africare, the University of Michigan, Boston University and the Zambia Center for Applied Health Research and Development. The Alliance is part of Savings Mothers, Giving Life (SMGL), a public-private partnership among the U.S. Government, the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, Every Mothers Counts, Project C.U.R.E and MSD for Mothers to reduce maternal mortality in sub-Saharan Africa.
Learn more about our program in Zambia.