A Mozambican Father’s Plans Saved His Wife and Newborn

Like most men in Mozambique, Virgilio Ajuda didn’t think it was his place to accompany his pregnant wife on her prenatal care visits. “I always thought it was only for women,” he said.

But thanks to your support, Virgilio and his wife Sara are among the nearly 500 couples who participated in a project aimed at engaging men in childbirth activities—making decisions together, learning the danger signs that could signal complications and emergencies, and understanding the importance of sharing the parenting load.

When Sara went into labor in the middle of the night, Virgilio was prepared. “We live far from the health facility,” he says. “As I was advised, I saved money for transport.”

Virgilio hired a car to take them to the facility, but when they arrived, Sara and Virgilio got bad news: their baby was lying in an abnormal position. Sara needed an immediate caesarean at the provincial hospital. Virgilio’s preparation paid off. Though the health center’s ambulance wasn’t available to transport Sara, Virgilio was able to take her in the car he had hired.

Today, Sara and their 4-month-old son, Armando, are healthy and strong.

“I love my family, but I never had time to go with my wife to the hospital,” Virgilio recalls. “I am very grateful for the education and information I received.”

Virgilio said he would encourage other men in the community to attend childbirth preparedness classes and counseling “so that more men understand the importance of participating and being with their women during pregnancy and birth.”