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Maternity Facility in Benin


Penessoulou is a village located near the border with Togo in the municipality of Bassila in northwestern Benin. Together with neighboring small villages, it forms a very deprived population of 20,000 people, largely employed in agriculture.

It has a single, modest primary health care facility called the "DISPENSAIRE SANITAIRE," a kind of emergency room with a general medicine clinic, also equipped with a small "MATERNITY DEPARTMENT" that has only three beds for the admission of parturients. The number of deliveries is quite high, so most of the time women, who have just given birth, are forced to get up and go home only one hour after giving birth, to leave the bed to another mother.

In a small apartment within the facility lives the midwife, the so-called "sage femme", next to the pharmacy.

Thus, only one area remains available to the maternity ward, divided in two parts with a curtain: on one side there’s the 3-bed admissions room, and on the other there’s the examination room and midwife's office.

The actual "delivery room" is reduced to the bare minimum: 12 square meters.

In August 2019, Dr. Guido Corradi, a member of the Association il Sorriso di Bright, as a volunteer dentist, went to Benin to provide urgent dental therapies to the population of Penessoulou, which is totally lacking in basic dental care.

After receiving dental treatment outdoors, with a chair and a crib in the courtyard of the health dispensary, the villagers, the local doctor, and the mayor of Penessoulou, thrilled with the service they received, asked Dr. Corradi to also commit to trying to ENLARGE THE MATERNITY DEPARTMENT of their Dispensary.

Our friend Alidou, who lives and works in Benin, but speaks Italian well, let us have a sketch of the hypothetical new department. It is only slightly better than the current one, going from 19 to 24 meters in length.

The health facility currently has NO CURRENT WATER at all. 

Water is drawn by hand from the well in the courtyard and deposited in plastic containers placed next to the various entrances. Bathrooms are therefore also missing: the TOILETS - without water - are shared and located in the courtyard.

Dr. Corradi therefore decided to make the toilets included in the project, considering the need to equip the eventual new facility with an adequate CURRENT WATER SYSTEM, through the construction of an elevated TANK of about 15 meters to obtain the necessary pressure to reach the Dispensary premises with clean, running water.

We have therefore commissioned a local firm to draw up the design of a NEW MATERNITY DEPARTMENT equipped with indoor toilets.

Our longing is to turn into a moment of joy and serenity the mothers of Penessoulou babies’ birth, giving them all the necessary assistance.



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