Joyce holds her baby closely and her smile dazzles the camera. She has reason to be so joyous. Only four days after Kamanga Health Centre opened its doors to patients, Joyce rushed to KHC in an emergency, and delivered her healthy 3.5kg baby boy in the early hours of 29th of January 2018.
Joyce had her pre-natal checks at one of the main hospitals in Mwanza. It had been her plan to deliver her baby there too. But it seems little Jamar had other plans. Her labour pains started in the middle of the night. And like every pregnant woman in Kamanga, Joyce faced the possibility of delivering her baby at home or at a dispensary, that she felt had not been adequate enough even to give her prenatal check-ups.
As usual there were no ferries available at that hour to get her across Lake Victoria to Mwanza town and to the hospital that she had originally planned to deliver at. What could she do?
The options she considered were to either pay 50,000 TZ shillings, for some half a month’s worth of wages, to a fisherman to take her across the lake, or to pay a similar amount to a taxi driver to take her to Sengerema Hospital, an hour’s drive away from Kamanga. None of these were affordable options for her, and anyway her baby was coming any moment. But for four days, Joyce had heard of another option; Kamanga Health Centre!
She gathered her things and without waiting for her mother to accompany her, Joyce started walking the forty minute walk, to Kamanga Health Centre.
Laurence, one of KHC's resident medical technicians and nurses, received a very tired Joyce just before 1am. He led her to the brand new delivery room and after only an hour’s labour, Joyce held her healthy son Jamar in her arms.
It was stories of mothers losing their lives or the lives of their babies, en route to either Sengerema hospital or Mwanza town, that spurred Cedar Tanzania to build Kamanga Health Centre at the coast line of Lake Victoria, to try and ensure that such losses do not happen again.
To date Kamanga Health Centre has seen 14 safe deliveries. That’s fourteen mothers and fourteen babies that have been saved because of the presence of Kamanga Health Centre.
We thank all those that have funded this first phase of construction of Kamanga Health Centre. You have changed lives!