Maternity Care

Better health starts at birth

Maternal and Infant mortality in Timor-Leste, whilst better than 10 years ago, is still the worst in SE Asia and the Pacific.

In this developing nation, less than a third of babies are delivered by a trained health professional

59 of every 1000 children will die before reaching their fifth birthday – UNICEF

“Health-seeking behaviour is one of the major issues, reflected by a low utilization of health services for antenatal and postnatal care. Some factors for low utilization of health services include concern about the availability of drugs; availability of healthcare providers, especially female health providers; distance to health facilities; and concern about getting permission to go for treatment from husbands and other family members”  –  Obstacles to improved maternal health care in Timor-Leste, IRIN

We believe the key to improving maternal and infant health is to:

Encourage more mothers to see a health care professional during pregnancy (antenatal care)

If we provide antenatal care to expecting mothers, we can make efforts to remedy any solvable medical problems that may be found. Treatable problems in expectant mothers include low iron levels, malnutrition, TB and HIV.

Ensure mothers are attended to by a trained birth attendant during delivery

In Timor-Leste, many mothers experience significant barriers to a safe delivery including:

Distance

poor roads and infrastructure in this small country means getting to an appropriate health care service can be very difficult.

Transport

with poverty endemic, it is very common that mothers simply don’t have access to transport to health care services.

Poor Health Literacy

many mothers in Timor-Leste lack the required education to understand the benefits and importance of health care during maternity.

Stigma

many mothers have a deep concern of being criticised or judged for their poverty and/or lack of education

BPC acknowledges these potential barriers and is renowned for enabling our patients to feel safe, respected and cared for at all times.

How we address the potential barriers to receiving appropriate maternity care: • Ensure the mothers gain a positive and informed experience enabling them to understand the value of the care provided and safeguarding their return for future pregnancies. • BPC addresses the issue of distance and lack of transport through training the Community Birth Attendants (CBAs). The CBA’s are chosen by the villagers and reside in the same village as the mothers. As the village is often too remote or the pregnant mother has no one else to look after her other children, the CBAs can be there with them and ensure that the 5 most common problems that can arise in delivery for the mother and baby are adequately managed. Should any additional complications arise, the CBA’s will then call for an ambulance to ensure the mother with safe passage to the Clinic.

Every month Bairo Pite Clinic delivers

consultations with pregnant mothers

babies born under supervision

%

of babies screened and vaccinated

Most of the antenatal care is performed by the midwives at the Clinic. Doctors are called upon to supervise the more complicated cases. BPC continues to ensure that mothers are counselled about the importance of antenatal care, a healthy diet and delivery by a trained health professional in a health facility. Our midwives are vigilant about checking for HIV, Hep B and syphilis in expecting mothers as transmission to the baby can be prevented through the appropriate treatment. Bairo Pite Clinic is currently the only health facility in T-L offering a birth dose of Hepatitis B vaccine, essential to prevent transmission from mother to child. Health Sciences Faculty, school of midwifery from the Australian Catholic University (ACU) runs an annual refresher workshop for Community Birth Attendants (CBA’s). The BPC midwives are also involved in aspects of facilitating these workshops in order for them to gain a broader knowledge in a variety of teaching skills. These skills are then used to assess and develop ongoing support for new CBA’s in a collegiate and positive environment.

Total babies delivered at Bairo Pite Clinic

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