Royal treatment in Machache

Royal treatment in Machache

…..Pregnant women say being treated with absolute honour….

NAZARETH – ’MAMOTLATSI Maine has a hospital job title very few people would be familiar with: a doula.
But the women who have been through her hands know all about her tender care and what it takes to be a doula.
A doula, according to respected health website WebMd, is a person who provides emotional and physical support during pregnancy and childbirth.
“Whatever they need and want from me I offer it to them,” she tells thepost, her face beaming.

The 42-year-old’s services are what most people would expect to find at an institution frequented by Lesotho’s rich and famous.
Often, pregnant rural women migrate to towns and cities for better care. But one rural institution is changing all that with a service that is out of this world – at least the world of Basotho hospitals.

Care for massages, musical therapy, water therapy, incense therapy and tender loving care? Then Machache Mountain in Nazareth, about 30 kilometres south-east of Maseru might just be the place for you.
Located in a rural area, the clinic is turning the tide.
Services that those in urban areas can only dream of are a daily routine at this rural post situated on the foot of Machache Mountain in Nazareth.

Some women are leaving the capital, Maseru, which boasts of the state-of-the-art Queen ’Mamohato Memorial Hospital and its three filter clinics to go to rural Nazareth.
They trek from as far as Teya-Teyaneng and Mohale’s Hoek, both which have state-run hospitals.
Pregnancy is treated with absolute honour and world class value at the Nazareth Clinic.
For nurses and other professionals working here, this is more than just a job.
“It is a service that we were called to do,” says Mantuta Thelingoane, the nurse-in-charge at the clinic.

Above all this, the clinic boasts of Maine, the much loved doula.
Maine has been Nazareth’s doula for almost a year and her face brightens as she talks to thepost about her work.
“I am a servant at heart and if God has called me to do this work, I will do it with all joy and enthusiasm,” she says.

She was a village health worker when she was called into the service at the clinic in March 2018.
“I love working for the clinic. I am passionate about health,” she says.
Maine’s job is to massage pregnant women admitted in the hospital’s waiting rooms. Also, she teaches them relaxation and breathing techniques they need when they get into labour and educate them about labour and delivery processes.

“If one of them tells me that their back aches, I rush to their service, if another tells me they need to be massaged with cold water, I run to get the cold water,” she says.
Maine says the job may seem arduous; especially that she has to deal with pregnant women who are known to be very demanding “because they too do not know what they need”.
But for her, it is a dream job.

“All of this requires patience and humility because the moment you understand that you are a servant to all of them, and you have promised that you will serve them, (then you) do that and not complain.”
Maine plays several games a week with her team of pregnant women to help them exercise and loosen up their muscles for when labour comes.

Meeting her, one cannot help but accept that her accommodating nature is just what the doctor ordered for this job.
She had just left the clinic after a hectic day when thepost arrived at the institution. Yet, she had no qualms returning with a cheerful face when her bosses “summoned” her for the interview.
It is nothing new, she says.
“They sometimes call me while I am home resting, asking that I come assist a woman in labour, take her through the pain.”

During labour, she encourages the mother-to-be to not be weary but stay strong for the baby.
She stays by her side until the baby is born.
After the birth, Maine stays to teach the new mother how to latch the baby onto the breast for breastfeeding and how to take care of the wounds she might have had during labour.
Maine is currently undergoing training offered by nurses at the hospital.

“She is the person we identified as one of our best VHW (village health workers) who can do this job wholeheartedly,” Thelingoane the nurse-in-charge says.
“Her character is just too amazing,” she says.
Maine’s job is supported through a Ministry of Health project the clinic won in July last year, called the Performance Based Funding (PBF).

The clinic serves 29 121 people from 63 villages but people from outside Nazareth have started coming to the clinic to deliver their babies because of the exceptional services it provides.
One of the Facebook page “Batsoetse le Bakhachane: Bo-’m’a” (Pregnant and Breastfeeding Mothers) group members praised the maternity services provided by the clinic.
One member even describes it as one of the best hospitals in the country.

The winner of the PBF needs to be a clinic that offers the best quality services providers to patients and an increase in the number of deliveries per clinic.
In the months of October to December last year, the clinic delivered 85 babies while in January to March this year it delivered 106 babies.

“This is a drastic change and an increase to be reckoned with,” Thelingoane says.
“We are delighted therefore because we can see that the small changes and incentives we give to our patients are well appreciated,” she says.
She says some women across the country choose to give birth at home because they cannot afford to buy new clothes for their new born babies and fear being mocked or shouted at by nurses.
To change this perception, the clinic buys clothes for new babies.
“This is to fix the bad image there is in public health services,” she says. “It is high time we treat our patients the way they deserve to be treated.”

She says they are also aware that some really travel long distances to get to a health facility and the waiting rooms are a benefit to them.
“We feed them and provide heat in the cold. At times we provide transport money for them to return home,” she says.
“We want them to know that they are worth it. We believe this treatment was offered by our mother Florence Nightingale and we want to demonstrate the same love.”

Thelingoane says at Nazareth Health Clinic, patients are allowed to express themselves as they see fit.
“This is midwifery. Being compassionate, patient, loving, empathetic and tough when need be and very caring. If we can care for a pregnant woman in labour we can create a healthy nation,” Thelingoane says.
The clinic has three midwives and has not recorded any maternal or infant mortality cases.
For any country, midwives are a cornerstone of the health sector.

Lesotho, together with the rest of the world, celebrated midwifery day on Sunday under the theme “Midwives: Defenders of Women’s Rights”.
The World Health Organisation, several UN agencies and other international bodies have identified midwives as the key in reducing maternal deaths and disabilities globally.

According to United Nations Populations Fund, there has been a reduction of maternal deaths from 1 055 per 100 000 lives births to 1 024 per 100 000 live births in Lesotho.
The reduction in maternal deaths can be attributed to, among other things, the good work done by midwives.
Lesotho also has increased the number of skilled birth attendants from 55 percent to 78 percent while facility based delivery has increased from 52 percent to 77 percent.

At Machache Mountain, women in the maternity waiting rooms gushed about the quality care they are receiving.
One of them who is expecting her second child says her experience at the hospital is vastly different from the treatment she received at a hospital where she gave birth to her first born child.
“Nurses at that hospital shouted at us all the time. They ill-treated us so much that I told myself that death was a better choice than to deliver a baby there,” she says.

Another was full of praises.
“We are treated like queens. We squeak and a doula is here and we cry and a nurse is by our bedside,” she says.
“I will go to labour without fear at all. This is world class treatment.”

Rose Moremoholo


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