Bangladeshis are extremely family oriented, and most women here find their most prominent role in being a mother. At Memorial Christian Hospital it is one of our goals to help that happen in the safest and happiest way possible. About 15 years ago we started developing a program for providing pre-natal care aiming to decrease the risks of pregnancy and to develop relationships with these women that would go beyond just a two or three day labor and delivery process. That program has grown to provide more than 600 prenatal checks each month just in the main facility at Malumghat. In addition, we have been providing care at our health clinics and improving care in the various communities through training Traditional Birth Assistants. We also continue to train our own medics, midwives, and nurse aides to provide competent care and compassion throughout the process.
What have we seen because of these efforts? There are decreases in eclampsia (seizures related to high blood pressure in pregnancy), decreases in low birth-weight babies, fewer arm prolapses due to inappropriate midwife intervention, and fewer cases of post-partum hemorrhage (bleeding excessively after delivery). We have comforted, encouraged, and provided safety for women in one of the most significant events of their lives.
Recently in the face of the impending death of his wife and child, an overwhelmed and very scared father thought to call his aunt who had taken training at an MCH village midwife program. The remote untrained village care provider hadn’t cut the umbilical cord and didn’t know what to do when the afterbirth didn’t come after. Amazingly this dad reached his aunt in spite of very sketchy cell phone coverage. She immediately packed her bag and hiked up and down the steep hills for a 12-hour trek to care for this woman. God intervened, and both survived.
At MCH, another woman came in hemorrhaging, but she was only 8 months along in her pregnancy. Would the baby survive when born so early? She was willing to follow the advice provided and stay in bed for 3 weeks while she received treatment to help mature the baby’s lungs and prevent further labor. She went home with a beautiful little girl and the story of hope. This could have ended so much differently and often does.
Please be in prayer for stamina for our national staff and NGO workers as they strive to provide excellent, compassionate care in the face of shortages and overwhelming numbers. Pray for laborers for this unique area of the harvest field. Pray for these women as they see love in action.