Rebecca Lemu from Lotaboket village, Achorchor parish noticed a gap in service at Achorchor parish maternity ward when her husband took her to the health centre II for delivery. After an agonizing wait, they were transferred to an admissions ward which had beds but no mattresses and this started a series of challenges for Rebecca. When she delivered, she was forced to sleep on the floor with her new born baby due to the lack of mattresses.
“I regretted giving birth at the health centre,” says Rebecca. “From the time I had my child who is four months now, we have been admitted at the health centre four times due to pneumonia because of the cold she was exposed to after her birth.”
Many women in Achorchor had resorted to giving birth at home because of the fear of giving birth on the floor or spending nights with their newly born babies in cold that could cause them respiratory complications. Achorchor parish maternity ward was constructed by Millennium promise over three (3) years ago but never fully complete with several hospital equipment missing. This forced many women to embrace home deliveries which are unsafe.
In August 2020, NAWOU implemented an activity identifying issues that hinder women’s to access antenatal services in Achorchor parish, Loroo sub-county Amudat district during the community drives and radio talk show programs. This was under “Women Networks Working for Gender Equality and Women Empowerment” UN Women project funded by Spotlight Initiative. NAWOU project officer Merab Alosikin builds women’s capacities through women network’s trainings to strengthen their advocacy for women’s and girls’ SRHR and violence free environment in Amudat district. Through the women’s district network, Rebecca and other women from Looro sub-county decided to speak up and demand for better service delivery in their community.
This was one of the advocacy issues also raised to district officials during the #16days of activism commemorations held at the district headquarters on 10th December 2020. They also advocated for creating opportunities and channels for women and girls to access information and services on sexual reproductive health and rights and making reproductive health services available to all women and girls, including in the hard-to-reach communities. The event was concluded by the signing of a commitment board by the government officials present as a way of committing to exercise the demands of the women presented.
The leaders heard their plea and in February 2021, mattresses were delivered to the health center.
They were heard!