The Mother and Baby unit
at Bamenda Regional Hospital, North West Cameroon.
New toilet block for the mother and baby unit, funded by Soroptimist International Great Britain and Ireland.
There are around 2,400 deliveries a year in the maternity ward at Bamenda Regional Hospital, many of which are high risk deliveries involving complications. If babies are ill or premature, they are cared for in the Mother and Baby Unit (neonatal unit). Sick babies born at home or in other clinics, or any babies aged less than one month who need hospital care are also admitted to the unit. Sometimes these babies have been abandoned. The main causes of death in newborn babies are infection, lack of oxygen at birth and prematurity. The unit is absolutely vital, caring for around 700 seriously sick new born babies every year.
The perinatal mortality (death during pregnancy and just after) in Cameroon is more than 10 times that in the UK and a leading cause of death is infection.
The unit was previously very crowded with no room for mothers to care for their ill babies. We funded an extension to the unit so that mothers can now sleep near their babies and offer better care. There is also a hot and cold nursery for premature babies.
In 2010 we raised funds to build a sanitary block to provide better facilities for the mothers of sick babies in the neonatal unit.
With the completion of this project we have achieved:
Improved care for mothers & their seriously sick babies.
Easy access to washing and toilet facilities for the recovering mothers.
It is not suitable for women who have just given birth to be walking from one part of the hospital to another to use such facilities when they should be resting and recovering.
Reduced infection. The introduction of washing facilities reduces infection.
Nurses have been trained to help mothers to practice kangaroo care (skin to skin mothercare), and chairs provided so that mothers can sit comfortably while nursing their babies in this way.
We will continue to support the mother and baby unit with equipment and training.