Collette Ndihokubwayo is a 33-year old mother.
She lives in Karirimvya, a village that is about an hour and a half walk from the Village Health Works through mountainous terrain. When she arrived at the clinic, she was in the last weeks of her pregnancy and felt very harsh pain. The community health worker in her village persuaded her to come to VHW’s McKenna Clinic in Kigutu, where doctors advised her to stay on bedrest at the clinic so that she could be cared for by the doctors until her 10th child was born. She had been very scared because she had already lost a child and she knew there was a risk of complications if she stayed home.
Collette and her family did not have enough money to afford hospitalization for several days. "I was really afraid to come, I thought that I was going to be charged a lot of money. I was so relieved when the community health worker told me that care is free, even the cost of hospitalization, "she explained. Collette spent a week as an inpatient at the clinic before she went back home.
While a patient, Collette learned that there will soon be an Expectant Mother’s House, where mothers who demonstrate signs of risky pregnancies will be able to stay in the last weeks of their pregnancies. It is a great relief to her as she thinks about the many other mothers who endure a lot of pain to walk long distance at risk of their own lives.
When we spoke with Collette, she proudly showed her new baby of less than a month, who she had brought back to VHW to have vaccinated. She praises the staff of the clinic who took care of her while she was in the hospital. "If I had not come and gave birth here, I would have had problems,” she explained.
Collette, 33 years old