Maternal health in Tibet

Location Eastern Tibet
Type Health

Location and background
The maternal health project we help fund in Tibet provides a lifeline for nomadic and semi-nomadic mothers.

The projects targets communities who have little or no access to medical professionals. For most of these communities an expectant mother’s journey to the nearest hospital takes, on average, ten hours – if transport is available at all. When there are complications during labour, many mothers do not survive the journey.

In the past, five out of nine berths in these communities would result in the death of either mother or child. Our project partners are working hard to decrease this figure. Thanks to training and equipment, this figure has already dropped to three in ten in some communities and is continuing to fall.

Birth attendant training
Local women and men attend a training programme which teaches them the basics of maternal healthcare and hygiene. They are taught:

– How to conduct antenatal checks
– How to recognise potential complications early on
– How to maintain a healthy diet during pregnancy
– How to assist with a clean, safe home birth

Once they have completed the programme, each trainee is given a birth pack. This gives them all the tools they need to help deliver a baby in a safe and hygienic environment.

This year, we have funded birth attendant training for another two communities in Tibet meaning another people will benefit directly and indirectly from training.

Emergency medical grants

Sometimes women have problems during pregnancy or show signs that indicate they may have complications during labour. Birth attendants are trained to recognise warning signs and can advise women on whether they might need to go to hospital to have their babies.

When it is safer for women to give birth in hospital, they often have to undertake long gruelling journeys to get there. Once there, they have to pay high fees, in advance, before they will be treated. The grant we give means there is an emergency fund that women from these communities can access to pay for hospital treatment, should they need it.

Emergency ambulance
When pregnant women need to get to hospital in an emergency, the last thing they want to worry about is how to get there.

We have recently given a grant of £4,500 to help purchase an emergency vehicle which will serve as an emergency ambulance for pregnant mothers.
The ambulance will serve four communities and will help protect the lives of mothers, sisters, wives and daughters.

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