The Maternal Mortality Rate (MMR) is the annual number of female deaths per 100,000 live births from any cause related to or aggravated by pregnancy or its management (excluding accidental or incidental causes). In the USA and UK this figure is 21 and 12 respectively. For India, it's 200.*
The result of inadequate maternal healthcare can lead to serious medical complications for the mother as well as mental and physical disability in the newborn child. Some of the disabled children that Rhema supports through residential care and education – are disabled as a result of poor healthcare before, during or after birth. There are 15 villages surrounding the Rhema Garden in the Cumbum area with a population of 150,000 people. In the Cumbum valley in South India, there is limited access to maternal healthcare.
Cumbum currently has one Government hospital with maternity facilities and four private facilities for an area of 150,000. The Government facility is free of charge but has about 1,000 people a day with only five doctors. It suffers from chronic overcrowding which forces many poor people to go into debt and fund private healthcare. A private checkup is about 1,000 rupees (£10), a natural birth is about 10,000 rupees (£100) and a Cesarean 30,000 rupees (£300). The average daily wage for rural people is around 150 rupees a day.
Rural people also find the 5km journey into Cumbum difficult as many of the villages surrounding the Rhema Garden are not on bus routes - therefore a lot of mothers in poor rural villages don’t attend regular checkups during pregnancy, which causes complications. The Government hospital oversees 150 deliveries a month and 120 of these are cesarean. Cesareans are preferred by this hospital because they are quick and more patients can therefore be processed, however, they result in a lot of post-natal complications for mothers.
Our Indian team have identified a need to build a maternity and infant care centre above the current medical centre. This would consist of facilities for checkups, an operating theatre, birth ward and a ten-bed unit for post-natal care. The great desire in surrounding villages is for natural births, which are mostly unavailable in the Government hospital due to overcrowding. The Rhema medical centre currently sees some pregnant women but doesn’t have the facilities or staff to offer comprehensive maternity care.
In November 2015, the Chairman, Richard Lloyd, met three local residents who told him about the urgent need for maternity facilities - a mother of three and two pregnant women.
Mrs Selvi is 38 years old with 2 children and comes from Annapuram, which is the neighbouring village to the Rhema Garden. Laksumi is 45 and has 3 children; she comes from the village of Ya Arasu. Both women were very keen to have a local and accessible maternity unit. Laksumi’s daughter in law was pregnant and in need of medical support closer by. Both women met with the Chairman and Director of Rhema in November 2015. The women mentioned that the cost of childbirth is incredibly high and lands them in huge debt, which keeps them in poverty.
Cost of the project
The total cost of the building project would be 5,500,000 Indian Rupees, which equates to around £65,000 (as at Dec 2016).
Funds already raised
We have already received a pledge of £20,000 from a charitable trust which will be paid to us upon raising the balance as well as £5,500 in other donations.
The monthly running costs for the Maternity ward of the Medical Centre would be: