Liviness Phensulo is a mother of four.
She delivered her fourth child on April 26 2019 at Chinguluwe Health Centre in Ntchisi.
Phensulo comes from Kafulu Village in Traditional Authority Chilowoko, a few kilometres away from the health facility.
She has delivered all her children at this facility.
But the fourth delivery was more exciting than the other three and she wished they were like the last one.
This time around, she did not fetch water from the health centre’s borehole.
In the past, health officials would ask her or her guardians to fetch water for her use.
Not only that, she would also join other expectant women and guardians to fetch water from the borehole to fill a labour ward drum.
The water was used during and after delivery.
Although it was not an easy task for a woman in labour pains, she still had to do it.
Otherwise, how would she get water to quench her thirst, clean herself and her baby after delivery?
Nurses would not do it because there would be no one to attend to women giving birth in the ward.
After all, Chinguluwe—like the 12 other health facilities in the district—has an acute shortage of staff.
The thought of walking to the borehole, queuing and jostling for water with women from nearby villages, tormented her.
But all this is now history.
Expectant women and their guardians now get water from taps as the facility has a water tank and a pump which feeds it, courtesy of WaterAid, one of the 2018 Mother’s Fun Run (MFR) strategic partner.
There is no need for electricity to pump water from the ground into the tank because it is solar powered.
Once in the tank, water flows gracefully into taps for Phensulo and others to use. Hustle free!
“This is exciting. This is a catalytic change. I wish it were like this all along,” she says.
Another mother Chosadziwa Thodi, from Kabelu Village in the area, also does not have fond memories of the facility as she was forced to draw water from the borehole at the peak of her labour pains.
But she now looks with a smile as she sees expectant women drawing water from taps in the ward.
Lucy Katsateni, from a nearby trading centre and had gone to the health centre to cheer a relative who had just given birth, could not hide her joy.
“This is unbelievable,” she enthuses. “We used to struggle and literally fight for water with women from nearby villages.”
Although the borehole belonged to the health centre, nurses and people from the surrounding also relied on it after the village borehole broke down long time. And there are no signs it would be fixed any time soon.
Ntchisi district health officer Zondwayo Ng’oma is also excited with the water system at Chinguluwe Health Centre.
“Water challenges have been reduced with the installation of the system by MFR partners.
“Women, including nurses, used to fight for water at the borehole. And this was frustrating to both expectant women and nurses,” he says.
Ng’oma says expectant women and nurses are now singing a new song at the health centre.
WaterAid presented the tank and pump to the health centre through MFR.
MFR, a brainchild of Nation Publications Limited (NPL), supports maternity wings of public hospital with medical equipment and supplies.
Apart from Chinguluwe, MFR has also installed a water supply system at Malomo Health Centre.
NPL and its strategic partners last year donated assorted medical supplies and equipment worth over K183 million to Ntchisi District Hospital and its 12 health centres.