April, 13 2012
Inauguration of a new birthing center in Bhaktapur district was made possible by the contribution of former Leave 4 Change volunteers Rosana Pellizzari and Barbara Parish.
Kathmandu, Jan. 17th 2012
On January 6th 2012, Siddhi Memorial Hospital’s brand-new safe delivery facility welcomed its first newborn. The emotion was palpable among the staff, partners and donors of this non-government and not-for-profit institution that has been working hard over the last few years to expand the obstetric services in Bhaktapur district.
Founded in 1997, Siddhi Memorial Hospital already compensated the lack of public health facilities in the district by providing accessible pediatric, gynecological, dental, immunizations, family planning and emergency services to the local population. However, there was a striking need for additional birthing facilities in the region. The inaccessibility of healthcare services for women and children was contributing to the increase of maternal and infant morbidity and mortality rates in Bhaktapur, which are higher in comparison to its neighboring districts. Most pregnant women had to travel long distances to give birth in a hospital in Kathmandu, Lalitpur or Kavre districts, and many others were forced to give birth at home without any medical assistance. To tackle these issues, few years ago, Siddhi Memorial Hospital decided to complete its range of services offered to women and children by developing a new birthing center within its walls.
To support this promising initiative, Uniterra-Nepal, in partnership with the Canadian Medical Foundation, recruited two highly skilled Canadian volunteers. In November 2010, Dr. Rosana Pellizari and Dr. Barbara Parish arrived in Nepal. As Maternal Health and Gynecology Advisors, they were given the task to help Siddhi Memorial Hospital staff conceive its new safe birthing unit.
In spite of their short three-week assignment, the two physicians accomplished several notable achievements. First, they visited the existing healthcare institutions in the district to assess the actual delivery and demand of services and identify partnership opportunities. Then, with the information collected, they revised and improved the five-year plan of the hospital to establish a Low-Risk Birth Center as well as a Women's Health Center and set up a Steering Committee to implement it.
To support the concrete development of the new birth center, the volunteers also designed a floor plan that maximizes the potential of the existing infrastructures of the hospital while incorporating new features. With Uniterra sector funds, they acquired new equipment to help treat women with first trimester pregnancy complications and provide access to safe abortions. Furthermore, in order to standardize the documentation in the institution, they requested the provision of Government Antenatal Records. Finally, to prevent infant and maternal mortality, they facilitated trainings and created a new Pregnancy Risk Assessment Tool for their Nepalese colleagues.
Thanks to the synergy between their generous collaboration, Uniterra’s support and the hospital team’s strong dedication, a new chapter could be written in the Siddhi Memorial success story. Today, a new, safe and accessible delivery facility is available to the women of Bhaktapur.