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Maternal and Child Health

During my recent trip to Cambodia with international aid agency Samaritan’s Purse, I saw some amazing projects which are saving lives every day. One of my favourites was a maternal and child health project. Maternal health is a huge area of risk for Cambodian mothers.

(You can read why I was in Cambodia HERE.)

One evening our team was informed that we would go check out a new maternity hospital the following day. If any babies were born overnight, we’d be seeing them tomorrow! We said a special prayer that night for any mothers in labour – for God’s oversight and protection.

The People in the Bus go Bump, Bump, Bump!

The road we traveled on to the clinic the next day was awful. The recent wet season caused huge ruts and holes in the track, and it took a long time for our bus to go the short distance from the city into the village. It took over an hour of jolting and slow maneuvering for a trip that might usually take 15-20 minutes. How on earth would a labouring mother manage if they had to do this? I wondered.

It turns out that they don’t do it. The road is too dangerous. So, if they get into trouble during labour, they just tough it out. Babies and mothers die. Or else the go for help very late – and babies and mothers still die. This is where maternal and child health clinics are literal life savers. In this village, mothers arrive at the maternal and child clinic a few days before their due date. They can stay in relative comfort, and are near medical assistance when the baby comes.

Of course, early arrivals do happen. And if they do end up in labour at home, guess what they travel to the clinic in? A trailer filled with hay, pulled by tractor! See the picture above, and also below.

And the the babies we prayed for?

At the clinic we met some of the midwives on-call – and four brand new babies and mothers. One of the mothers did have some cause for concern during her labour the previous evening. She and her baby were recipients of specialist care at the maternal and child health clinic. They were alive and well when we saw them – thanks to the Samaritan’s Purse clinic, and the trained local midwife.

In another village, with no clinic, it probably would have been a different outcome.

While it is good to acknowledge the work of Samaritan’s Purse and other NGOs who provide maternal health clinics such as these, let’s not forget it’s the mothers are the heroes of this story. Just like any mother in the Western world, these mothers treasure their children and are so grateful that there are facilities to keep them safe and well.

Maternal and Child Health
A special new arrival.
Maternal and Child Health
These are the emergency maternity vehicles. I can just imagine my in-labour response: “I’M NOT GOING IN THAT!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next week’s post outlines another favourite of mine: Eating Cambodian Food!

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