Saving mothers and newborns in winter

Saving mothers and newborns in winter
January 5, 2021 PHASE Nepal

With the winter at its peak, the regions where we work are further pushed to isolation as telecommunication, transportation, and other essential emergency services are usually obstructed due to heavy snowfall. In such areas, PHASE health workers are in continuous effort to provide healthcare at PHASE supported health posts.

Read here cases from the field on how our team was successful at saving the lives of newborns and mothers.

Just like a normal day, 20 years old Devi was working with her husband in field when she suddenly felt severe pain in her abdomen. This was her first baby, and little did they knew how the deliveries could be unpredicted.

Her husband reached the nearest PHASE supported health post in Mugu. Our Ready to Go: delivery kit came in handy, with which PHASE ANM rushed to his home. All her vitals were stable, PHASE ANM continuously assessed and examined cervical dilation until she delivered her first baby safely. Her baby weighed 2000 grams only, soon the baby was breastfed and quickly initiated Kangaroo Mother Care to maintain the thermal status of the baby. With few supplements for the mother and KMC technique for the baby, in just 5 days, the baby weight 2300 grams, and in a month the baby gained a healthy weight of 2800 grams.

Devi shared, “This was my first delivery. I am grateful to Sister (ANM), for reaching me at my home. As a new mother, I learned KMC method to keep my baby warm and feed timely. Now She is growing healthy.”

Like her, 20 years old Kalika reached the PHASE clinic in Bajura with complaints of lower abdominal pain, backache, and per-vaginal bleeding. In vital assessment, her blood pressure was low (100/60 mm of hg), and on vaginal examination, cervical dilation was found 6 cm and found that the placenta was low lying.

If not timely assessed by a health worker, such a condition could lead to excessive bleeding and risk the baby from lack of oxygen.

PHASE health staff was able to quickly reassured her, and initiate her treatment. She was kept in the left lateral position with intravenous infusion of Ringers Lactate, after time to time observation for 3 hours, she successfully delivered the baby.

Kalika shared, “I didn’t know about the conditions like this. I was bleeding and feared about my baby. Where would I go at this time of COVID. Thank you for your help to deliver my baby safely!”

Even in the normal climatic conditions, the communities where we reach has very low food production, they hugely depend on subsidized food supports. And, while at the peak of winter, the situation might get much worst. Malnutrition is still a high cause for child mortality there. Recently, PHASE health worker, in Humla, were able to save a 13 months old child(Rohit) from malnourished to a healthy baby.

A month back, he was brought to the health post with complaints of diarrhea, vomiting, and lethargy and not being able to suck breast milk for the last 3 days.  On vitals’ assessment, his Mid-Upper Arm Circumference (MUAC) was recorded only 11.5 cm and the skin turgor was loose.  Further PHASE health staff found sunken eyes and dry mouth, also the baby was irritable. Based on history and assessments, he was diagnosed with the condition of severe dehydration with Moderate Malnutrition. After assuring his parents, he was treated with the rehydrated solution and then prescribed additional medicines along with oral rehydration solution. His parents were also oriented on balancing nutrition with locally available vegetables and grains for a healthy baby.

In the last two months, our health team has successfully delivered 23 babies in Gorkha, Sindhupalchok, Humla, Bajura, and Mugu. They have continued essential health services through Community Outreach events, support to national immunization programmes, school deworming events, and regular meetings with FCHVs, mothers/ANC on nutrition and hygiene.

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