Maternity Worldwide – News & Project Updates from 2018

We would like to wish you all a very Happy New Year. We are extremely proud of the progress we made in 2018 – it was a very busy year indeed. I hope you will enjoy reading some of the highlights here. Of course none of this work would be possible without your generous support and we very much hope you will be able to continue to support us in our plans to save further lives in childbirth in 2019  – Dr Adrian Brown, Chair and Co-founder of Maternity Worldwide.


In 2018 our Big Lottery Funded Integrated Maternal Health Programme  was successfully completed. Based in the Zomba district, we used Big Lottery funding to work in two health centres, one hospital and 80 villages. We used our integrated approach to address all obstacles to safe and appropriate childbirth and maternal care. To build upon the existing care available, we trained midwives and strengthened referral systems, and we empowered the most disadvantaged women with income generation groups in the community. We have also improved the knowledge of maternal and neonatal health, as well as maternal mental health, through community engagement across the villages. We are delighted with the progress we have made in the Zomba thanks to the Big Lottery Fund and our supporters generosity.

During our project period…

  • We have facilitated a fantastic 12,619 safe births.
  • The rate of facility-based births has risen from 79.3% to 97.4%.
  • Maternal deaths have halved in our project zone.
  • The number of women generating their own income has more than doubled
  • The number of women with comprehensive awareness of HIV/AIDS has risen to nearly 100%
“Women no longer die in the villages because they are now delivering at facilities.” Beatrice Afia from the Mpalasa Village, Zomba

We are also currently supporting the building of the M’mabo Health Centre in Zomba. Made possible by an extremely generous donation from one of our supporters, this health centre will include a labour ward, post-natal ward and a nursery.

Maternity Worldwide was also actively involved in a research project in June 2018, which explored women’s perceptions of maternal rights and the effect these perceptions had on their maternal care-seeking behaviour.


In Uganda we have continued our work to reduce the number of women and babies dying or injured in pregnancy and childbirth. Our integrated maternal health programme has been designed to enhance access to quality maternal healthcare in the Hoima and Masindi districts of Western Uganda.

In 2018 in Uganda we have…

  • Recruited two more midwives, Olivia and Janeffer, to ensure safe maternal care for mothers.
  • Successfully delivered 302 babies.
  • Improved referral systems to ensure women are safely transferred to the care they need.
  • Facilitated 754 fully packaged ante-natal care appointments.
  • Fully established 25 women’s groups that focus on income generation, which has gone on to support 56 pregnant women in need.
  • Increased male participation within the maternal health education groups.


Last year was a notable year for developing peace in Ethiopia and the surrounding region, including the opening of the Ethiopia-Eritrea border. Abiy Ahmed was elected as Prime Minister in April 2018. The Ethiopian parliament has appointed women to half of his government’s ministerial posts and recently elected the first female President, Sahle-Work Zwede: Africa’s only female head of state.

Maternity Worldwide has been a partner in the CRADLE 3 research project  Between 2017-2018 Ethiopia was one of the sites for this research. The Annual CRADLE meeting in 2018 was held in Addis Ababa with representatives attending from eight sites across Africa as well as Haiti and India.

Thank you again for enabling us to Save Lives in Childbirth





Women’s Group Open Day in Malawi

In November, the women’s group of Mpalasa Village in Mwambo organized an Open Day in order to show case how they have benefited from the project!

The Open Day was fully organized by the women themselves to showcase how they had benefited from the project, and was presented to the Co-Founder of Maternity Worldwide, the Country Director, and the Zomba Civil Society Network.

As part of our Improving Maternal and Neonatal Health Project in the Zomba District, Malawi, we work across 80 villages facilitating women’s income generation groups to empower women by enabling them to become financially independent, and also by running maternal health education groups, so men and women are more aware of the risks associated with pregnancy and childbirth, how to recognize medical emergencies, and the appropriate time to seek help.

During the event, co-founder of Maternity Worldwide, Dr. Adrian Brown, thanked all the partners in a speech for helping with the implementation of the project. He dedicated the speech to the women in the group and thanked them for making the project a success, awarding them all with certificates of recognition.

The Village headwoman for the Village, who is also a member of the women’s group, thanked Maternity Worldwide for having fully supported the groups with the maternal health messages, which has consequently reduced the number of newborn deaths in her village. This has been attributed to the rise of the number of women who are now aware of the importance of delivering at the hospital. She further said that the seed fund basket which keeps revolving in the village as part of the income generation scheme, has helped to improve the people’s lives, as many women are now involved in profiting small-scale businesses and using these incomes to invest in their own wellbeing, thanks to the business management training. In fact, the group has managed to increase the amount of the seed fund basket on their own through the introduction of a 5% interest rate for each loan accessed!

There are a lot of benefits I experienced during the entire time I have been attending and participating in the improving maternal and neonatal health activities. I have been learning lessons which are an eye opener and very educative in improving maternal and neonatal deaths among women in the child bearing age’ Lucy Masaka, women’s group participant.

One member from the women’s group, Phillis, has been using the small loan she got from her group to run a small scale business of selling house paint. Through the business management training the project offered, Phillis was able to grow her business enough to profit, and with this income, she has managed to build a house! In the open day, Phillis spoke of how she is grateful to this project, because not only did it help in reducing maternal and newborn deaths, but is also changed her life.

Throughout the implementation period of the Improving Maternal and Neonatal Health project, all 80 villages have benefited from the income generation groups and the seed funds that come with it. The women’s groups, with the help of the Coordinators and all the facilitators who were trained by Maternity Worldwide, were working hand in hand through this integrated approach to make sure that the seed fund revolves among them, and that these women’s groups not only educate, but empower.