“Women throughout the world deliver their babies at home, alone and unassisted. Other times, they deliver in facilities that are poorly stocked in equipment, medications and professional resources. In both instances, when complications arise, disaster ensues. Babies die, women die, children are orphaned and families are broken. Madagascar is no different. Here, a woman’s lifetime risk that she’ll die in childbirth is 1 in 45. Just for comparison, the rate is 1 in 3,800 in developed countries.
The Sarobidy Maternity Center is slowly and passionately working to change this– one mother and one baby at a time. The heart of our program is to provide quality medical care, compassion, love and relationship building. We know the women by name, we know their stories, we cry with them, rejoice with them and pray with them. We walk with them through their pregnancy, support them through a safe delivery and postpartum period, and empower them with knowledge to care for their new babies.
Sarobidy is the word for precious in Malagasy. We believe that life is precious and that the family unit is precious. We believe that every woman has the right to quality and compassionate medical care and education as it relates to her pregnancy, baby, birth and the time following birth.”
– Written by Alissa Shattenberg, Director of Sarobidy Maternity Center
A Closer Look at SMC:
Women enter the prenatal program early in their pregnancies. They come weekly to the Sarobidy Maternity Center where they receive prenatal care and laboratory testing, prenatal vitamins, a protein-rich snack and education relating to their pregnancy, nutrition, upcoming labor and delivery, and overall reproductive health.
Currently women are spending the early stages of labor at the center and when close to delivering, they are transferred to a Malagasy physician’s clinic.
After birth and when mom and baby return home, the Center provides postpartum home visits during the first 10 days after birth. In a country where postpartum care is non-existent, Center staff provide valuable monitoring to ensure continued health for the mother and baby, to aid in the establishment of successful breastfeeding and bonding, and to provide postpartum guidance and support.
After recovering at home, new moms and babies return weekly to the Sarobidy Maternity Center and enter into the postpartum and child-development program. Here, moms receive continued postpartum care and breastfeeding support while babies receive well-baby visits to ensure healthy growth and weight gain while also addressing any areas of concern or illness. Similar to the prenatal portion, women continue to receive prenatal vitamins and protein-rich snacks as well as education relating to breastfeeding, infant care, general healthcare, parenting, and family planning.
Women graduate from the Sarobidy Maternity Center with chubby breastfed babies in their arms, knowledge in their heads and a diploma in their hands when their babies are six months old.
As the staff reaches out to the women within their community, their desire is that women will know that they too are sarobidy– precious in the sight of Christ. SMC’s prenatal and postpartum programs not only teach truth in terms of education, they teach God’s Truth– through word, deed and prayer. In an animistic and nominal Christian culture, SMC’s ultimate goal is that women’s lives would be transformed as they come to know Christ as their Lord and Savior.
View Sarobidy Maternity Center’s video.
Our Involvement with SMC:
When we arrive in July, Rachel will start delivering babies at the center and will provide pre/post natal care and additional staff training.