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Maternity Waiting Homes Save Mothers’ Lives in Banso, North West Region

As part of its emergency response in the humanitarian context of the North West Region,UNFPA, thanks to United Nations Central Emergency Response Funds (UNCERF), setup a Maternity Waiting Home at the Banso Baptist Hospital in 2019. Since then, about 219 pregnant women and girls, mostly Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) referred from hard-to-reach communities, have benefitted from safe delivery thanks to support from skilled birth attendants. 

Maternity waiting homes are made available close to a health facility to enable women in rural areas who are ready to give birth to stay in a safe and clean space while awaiting delivery. This is aimed at reducing the risk of maternal mortality and ensuring access to skilled personnel to handle any pregnancy-related complications. A reference for mostly high-risk mothers who require a more specific prenatal care.


A cross-section of the Maternity Waiting Home 
at the Banso Baptist Hospital. Photo/UNFPA 2021

One of them, Frida (not her real name), has been here for eight days already. At 28years,  this is Frida’s she's about to have her second child. She was referred from the Kitiwum Integrated Health Centre, about 7km away from Banso due to a high-risk multiple gestation (more than one baby in her womb) after a set of miscarriages.

“I was referred here due to complications in my pregnancy. I wasn’t asked to pay for my bed & other services and I received so much care from the personnel that my husband felt it was safe to leave me here so he could go & get the money to cover the cost of delivery.” Frida shared.

Cameroon has a mortality ratio of 406 deaths per 100 000 live births according to the 2018 Demographic and Health Survey. One of the causes of this high ratio is the difficult access to health facilities, especially in rural areas. With the ongoing socio-political crisis in the North West and South West Regions of Cameroon, the high level of insecurity as well as the destruction of some health facilities has made access even tougher for most women. Hence, increasing the risk of a resurgence of maternal mortality. The establishment of these maternity waiting homes therefore falls in line with part of UNFPA’s mandate which is to ensure that every delivery is safe. Besides the maternity waiting home at the Banso Baptist Hospital, Maternity Waiting Homes have been established at the Mbingo Baptist Hospital in the North West Region as well as the Baptist Hospitals in Kumba, Mamfe and Mutengene in the South West Region. 

#SafeBirth