Maternal and Child Health
Kissy United Methodist Hospital provides a range of services to pregnant women.
Every Wednesday and Friday morning, some 200 pregnant women come to Kissy Hospital making a total of 400 women who take part in the prenatal clinics. This service provides women with care throughout their pregnancy. They are examined each week and take part in educational sessions where they learn about having a healthy pregnancy, breast feeding and child nutrition, to HIV/AIDS. The lessons are supplemented with songs and dances to help the women remember what they’ve learned.
Labor and Delivery
The maternity ward at Kissy Hospital is full of healthy women and newborn babies. Most of the women in the prenatal clinics will give birth at home, but those who have complicated pregnancies or are at risk are encouraged to deliver at the hospital.
Most women in Sierra Leone will give birth at home with the help of a Traditional Birth Attendants (TBA). TBAs are normally older women who are not selected because of their medical knowledge, but based on other commonly-held values. Training TBAs in delivery techniques and in identifying when a woman should go to the hospital is a top priority for Kissy Hospital and its related clinics. High-risk or potentially dangerous deliveries in Sierra Leone are often a result of malnutrition and hypertension, resulting in hemorrhages, obstructed labor, eclampsia, or uterine ruptures. Working with TBAs is critical to reducing the frighteningly high maternal morbidity rate in Sierra Leone, which is listed by the World Health Organization as the highest in the world. One in eight women in Sierra Leone die giving birth.
HIV/AIDS Testing and Prevention
The Maternity Ward staff also collaborates with the hospital's Friends Unit, an HIV/AIDS care and outreach program. All of the women in the prenatal program are counseled regarding HIV/AIDS testing, although not all of them will decide to be tested. HIV-positive mothers participate in a special Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission Program through the Friends Unit. They receive critical drugs that prevent the trasmission of the virus to their babies during childbirth. Postnatal care, counseling and livelihood support are also offered to these mothers.
Through the Nutrition Program, pregnant women receive education on their personal nutrition and that of their coming child. Later, children identified as malnourished are provided with “benny mix” a nutrient-rich food made of proteins, fats, oils, and grains that are essential to child development and new mother recovery.