India: Natal awareness saving lives
This month our country of focus is India, where World Vision’s Strong Women, Strong World initiative is focusing on child protection. The following story was contributed by Lydia Veena, World Vision.
What made a difference between life and death in Rekha Yewale’s life is the counseling provided by World Vision when she was pregnant. After losing her first child to careless and prolonged labor, Rekha’s second child was born in safe hands and survived.
Village women believe that World Vision’s role in educating pregnant women in the village was the key to saving many children. That was particularly true in Rekha’s case.
Like many mothers in Thokbarda village, Rekha’s natal history was not without disappointments. “I lost my first baby, after a struggling delivery,” says Rekha, bending her head down and recalling the mental and physical pain she went through.
Rekha was married in 2006 and conceived the same year. Things were going as planned until the preventable disaster struck.
It was early morning. Rekha was in her eighth month of pregnancy experiencing unbearable pain in her lower abdomen. Her family called for a traditional midwife Dhahee to deliver the baby but disaster struck. The Dhahee failed to do the job.
“I was in pain and lost a lot of blood and the baby did not come out,” narrates Rekha. By this time Rekha had waited 12 hours. Then the family decided to take her to a hospital about 15 kilometers away. The baby was born but died the third day. Had someone made the decision to take Rekha to the local hospital on time, the baby may have survived.
World Vision health volunteers believe that nutrition deficiency, missing of regular health checkups and reckless delivery are causing the death of many babies in Melghat, west Indian state of Maharashthra.
Looking at the need, in 2007 World Vision intervened focusing on awareness, nutrition and health practices among pregnant mothers. The project identified that ten percent of mothers are not aware of antenatal and postnatal care practices. World Vision health volunteers started working with the women and saw positive results.
As for Rekha, life is positively changing now. She remembers how she took care of herself during her second pregnancy. She delivered a healthy baby at the public health center.
“I have been blessed with a baby girl,” Rekha smiles.
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