The birth of hope at Khost maternity Hospital

17 Oct 2018
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MSF opened a specialised maternity hospital in Khost in 2012 to provide safe, high quality and free maternal and neonatal care to women and their babies in the eastern part of the country. Since 2016, the team has also been supporting five health centers in the province to increase their capacity to provide maternal healthcare

In rural areas and away from the big cities, the majority of women do not have adequate access to essential obstetric care. In provinces like Khost, accessing proper care is further exacerbated by the limited availability of female midwives and doctor s. MSF’s specialised maternity hospital tries to overcome some of these challenges, namely helping to reduce the high maternal mortality rate in the area, by offering a safe environment for women to deliver their babies, with free of charge care provided predominantly by female medical staff.

The maternity hospital covers an area with almost 1.5 million inhabitants and based on the calculation of expected deliveries, MSF teams assist around 40 percent of the total deliveries in the province. The number of deliveries has grown steadily since the opening of the maternity, and in 2017 the figure almost reached 23,000; a 7 percent increase compared to 2016. Additionally, 1,650 newborns were admitted in the neonatology unit during 2017. There were more than 26,000 total admissions in the hospital.

The hospital’s services comprise of an inpatient department, including a 68 bed maternity and 22 bed newborn unit, two operating theatres, comprehensive emergency obstetric care, vaccinations for newborn babies, family planning, health promotion and a dedicated women’s health clinic.

In 2016 MSF started supporting two health centres in the peripheral districts of the province and in 2017 the support was extended to three other facilities. The main goal is to increase their capacity, allowing them to remain open 24/7 and assist more simple deliveries without needing to refer patients to MSF's maternity hospital. That makes it easier for mothers to give birth closer to their homes and at the same time the MSF facility can focus its resources on complicated deliveries, which involve higher risks for the health of mothers and babies. In addition to these health centres, MSF is also pro­ viding human financial and logistic support to the Khost Provincial Hospital in order for it to also in­ crease its maternal healthcare services.

Illustration by: Aurelie Neyret/The Ink Link/MSF