Romine Raharinaivo, (19) in labour at the Ankadinandriana health centre, Madagascar
Nineteen year old Romine is in labour at the Ankadinandriana health centre, situated in the rural highlands of central Madagascar. Romine lives in the same village as the health centre, which is the only health facility available to the 10,600 inhabitants living across 14 rural villages over 40km east of the capital. She arrived at the centre three days ago when she went into labour.
Romine is very familiar with the Ankadinandriana health centre as she has been going there throughout her pregnancy for check-ups with the midwife and to receive her vaccines against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus, supported by the Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack + 1 vaccine” campaign.
She learned about the importance of vaccines from the community health worker in the 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.
The Ankadinandriana health centre is a community hub where mothers-to-be go to get check-ups with the midwife; babies and pregnant women are vaccinated; and meetings with the community health workers take place. Women go to the centre to give birth, usually arriving by foot in labour. They stay in a house in the centre complex, which was built by the community. The house is just a shell with four rooms, the mother-to-be and her family are responsible for bringing bedding, cooking materials, coal for the fire and anything else they might need with them. Following the birth they spend up to three days in the 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.
Romine feels safe in the knowledge that she could reach the health centre by foot and that there were always health professionals in the area that could support her throughout her pregnancy.
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.