Ian informed me last night that my last 4 blogs have been about the baby and that people might get bored.
I don’t know if you have realized, but our blog is generally pretty lighthearted. We’ve tried to keep it about our personal experience, and still, there is so much that we witness and experience here that I don’t talk about. It’s either too depressing, horrible, or just not conducive to the positive work we’re trying to accomplish through Karibu Centre.
I’ve been thinking a lot about women & pregnancy here in Kenya. There is a large campaign by UNICEF here to increase awareness and reduce the number of deaths related to pregnancy. This week, the country also celebrates The Day of the African Child on Wednesday.
With all of that in mind, here are a few things that I have witnessed here that must be shared & honestly, should not be happening in the year 2010.
A woman should not lay unassisted on a plastic covered metal hospital bed in a pool of blood while waiting to pass her placenta.
A woman should have the right to view an ultrasound scan taken of her fetus…even if her pregnancy is in jeopardy. She should not be denied the right to know what is going on.
A women should not fear that she will contract HIV or some other disease because she is in premature labor & bleeding, and is being told to share the remaining ONE hospital bed with TWO other women who are bleeding on said bed and have gosh knows what wrong with them.
No one should take it upon themselves to lie & say that a baby is dead, if it isn’t. Even if the mother is an 11-year old girl.
In the US, 15 out of every 100,000 women die due to pregnancy related complications. In Kenya, that number is 414 women. Every woman, if they desire, should have access to some type of skilled care during labor, whether in a hospital or elsewhere.
Newborn babies shouldn’t rest 2-3 deep in a metal gym-like basket so that there are 31 in a hospital nursery made to hold 16.
A hospital shouldn’t be in a position where it is housing newborn abandoned babies, yet is unable to clothe, feed or nurture these babies. These babies also should not be 3 months old and never have had the opportunity to be outside.
Babies should not lie in feces because the incubator’s cleanliness hasn’t been attended to in days? weeks?
A HIV positive mother shouldn’t have to run all around the country looking for infant formula provided free-of-charge through foreign aid programs, otherwise, yes, she’ll nurse that baby and possibly infect it.
Babies should not be refused a family/home because they were not born to a relative. A life is precious whether it is from your blood or not.
A woman should never have to beg and plead to know what kind of medical treatment she has or will be receiving.
And despite all of these things that go on in the hospitals here, that shouldn’t, please know that this care is better than NO care, which is a reality for about half of the population. And, how much does having a baby at the District Hospital cost? About as much money as your cup of Starbucks….