Hantaralala Ratanadrasoa, 23, visits the Ankadinandriana health centre in Madagascar
Six months pregnant mother, Hantaralala, visits the Ankadinandriana health centre, situated in the rural highlands of central Madagascar. Hantarala is at the centre, which is the only centre available to the 10,600 inhabitants in 14 rural villages over 40km east of the capital, Antananarivo, to receive her vaccine against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus, supported by the Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack + 1 vaccine” campaign.
When Hantaralala was pregnant with her first child, Maitonintso, now two and a half, she did not complete the full required course of vaccines against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus due to poor weather conditions and the distance she had to travel to the health centre, three hour’s walk on a good day. However, since she has been pregnant with her second child, Hantarala is completely up-to-date with her vaccines which protect her and her unborn child from the fatal disease.
Hantaralala learned about the importance of vaccines from the community health worker in her village. The community health workers play an integral role in saving the lives of women and children by running vaccination campaign awareness programmes and walking door-to-door to advise and remind women that they must be vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn babies from diseases such as Maternal and Newborn Tetanus.
She has lived in rural villages her whole life, and has seen and experienced the challenges that women face including the long journeys along uneven terrain to the nearest health facility, which can force women to give birth at home in unsanitary conditions with only a traditional birthing attendant present.
The Ankadinandriana health centre is a community hub where mothers-to-be come to get check-ups with the midwife; babies and pregnant women are vaccinated; and meetings with the community health workers take place. Women come to the centre to give birth, usually arriving by foot in labour and waiting in a house in the centre complex, which was built by the community, to have their babies. Following the birth they spend up to three days in the postnatal ward until they are well enough to make their long walk back home. There is also a dentist and walk-in health facility on site.
Hantaralala feels safe in the knowledge that she can reach the health centre by foot and that there will always be a doctor, nurse or midwife onsite to support her. Hantaralala is determined to walk the three hours to the health centre to have her baby delivered by the doctor.
The Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack + 1 vaccine” campaign has funded vaccination programmes in Madagascar helping to eliminate the disease across the country. Despite helping to eliminate Maternal and Newborn Tetanus in a total of 15 countries, including Madagascar, there are still an estimated 100 million women and their newborns in 24 countries who are still at risk from the fatal disease.