During the COVID-19 lockdown, PHASE’s health staff are continuing to serve vulnerable, remote communities in Nepal, throughout the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19. Through our skilled PHASE ANMs who live in the community they serve, PHASE’s goals of reducing maternal mortality, neonatal deaths, and child-birth complications continue. During this unprecedented time, PHASE’s mission to serve and empower the vulnerable with quality healthcare is more important than ever before.
Bhee, Mugu- This is a story about Mugu, a region in Western Nepal. Mugu’s basic health services are always below average in comparison to the national average. There is a lack of basic medications. Every year, there are too many minor cases for the health system to handle effectively. If the COVID pandemic reaches here it will shatter the already vulnerable health system. As COVID-19 has become a challenging circumstance across Nepal, PHASE Nepal will ensure that the remote communities we serve will continue to have access to health services. Ms. Saraswati Joshi, a PHASE Nepal’s ANM from Mugu, Soru Rural Municipality, Bhee-3, shares the below story about how she and other PHASE health workers are continuing to deliver essential health services.
“Having a home delivery is common here because of Mugu’s rugged geography and poor road facilities making it dangerous to carry pregnant women in stretchers. We also don’t have a birthing center. Additionally, there is a poor mobile network to contact people. Today we had our first delivery, also a home delivery, here in Mugu after the start of the Pandemic.”
“30 year old I. B is from ward no. 3 of Soru Rural Municipality, Bhee, Mugu. I.B’s family is economically disadvantaged and is dependent on agriculture to earn a daily living. She has been pregnant several times before; this pregnancy was her seventh. Early in the morning on April 27th, 2020, I.B.’s mother-in-law rushed to the PHASE health worker residence in Bhee, explaining that her pregnant daughter-in-law was having severe abdominal pain. The PHASE ANMs immediately set out for her house, bringing pre-organized child delivery bags constituting all the necessary items and medications.
Once arrived at Ishowora’s home, the PHASE ANMs examined her and found her cervix to be fully dilated. She was going through intensive and painful labor pain. I.B.’s family explained that this was her 7th pregnancy. Two of her children died previously, leaving her with four daughters.
She was complaining that she might die of this pain. We said we were there to help her and asked her to be calm and focus on pushing the baby out. After almost an hour, she delivered a healthy male baby of 2500 grams through spontaneous vaginal delivery. We administered Oxytocin 10 units intramuscularly immediately and carefully delivered the placenta applying traction to the umbilical cord whilst counter pressure on the uterus through Controlled Cord Traction. Lastly, we gave her a single dose of Vitamin A single dose and provided Iron Tabs for 45 days.”
When almost everything in Nepal is shut down to fight against corona, PHASE’s health workers are still providing quality health services to rural communities. Besides emergency situations like this we are also working in coordination with the local government for screening COVID-19 in the community level. PHASE has set up Health Desks in village entry points and health staff measure temperature with laser guns. Additionally PHASE health workers strictly maintain distance and use personal protective materials like gloves and masks while monitoring any suspect.