Agnes was already four months pregnant when she married her husband Silvester, who works as a driver in their local village of Shifwankula, Zambia. Agnes is 20 years old and is expecting her first child. She is now in her eighth month of pregnancy.

St John volunteers Edina and Josephine heard about Agnes and visited her at home to enrol her in St John Zamiba’s Mother and Baby Programme. As volunteers, Edina and Josephine always work as a pair when they walk in the neighbourhood to advice families on safe motherhood issues.

During their first visit to Agnes, the volunteers strongly encouraged her to attend ANC in the nearby health post to check on and prevent potential health problems. Agnes thinks that the most important thing she learnt from Edina and Josephine is how to recognise danger signs during her pregnancy and what to do in case they occur. Sometimes, Agnes feels pain in her abdomen. Because this is a typical danger sign, she went to see the doctor, who fortunately told her that this is caused by her baby growing and nothing to worry about. 

“As a pregnant woman I am not supposed to lift heavy things and do hard work”, Agnes says. That is why her husband Silvester is supporting her with the chores, but he also makes sure he, his wife and the unborn baby stay healthy.

I told Silvester we should go to the clinic for ANC and do an HIV test together. He immediately agreed, Agnes remembers.

Silvester also brought everything required for the pregnancy and delivery, and he is saving money to take his wife to the hospital when she goes into labour.

“A lot of women in my village still deliver at home” says Agnes, “and a lot of people die because of this. Through the programme, we learn that we should deliver in a clinic, because it can save not only the baby’s life, but also my own.”

Learn more about our Mother and Baby Programme