In Nepal, Banas Ram and his wife Khetrani were blessed with a baby boy after 20 years of marriage but their happiness had a complicated twist. Khetrani was brought to the hospital in a bullock cart from her village almost an hour away from the health post in Dhodari in Bardiya district. Her baby had suffocated and the placenta had already detached.
Auxiliary Nurse Midwife Pushpa and Jhamkali, Maternal and Child Health Worker helped her give birth but the baby was not breathing. While Pushpa worked on saving the mother, Jhamkali started cleaning the baby’s wind pipe. After being assured that the mother would live, Pushpa and Jhamkali started resuscitating the baby with ‘bag and mask’ but could not revive the baby after 20 minutes. They didn’t give up. With permission from the father who was waiting outside the labour room, Pushpa decided to try for another 15 minutes.
The baby started breathing and crying after 35 minutes of resuscitating. The two health workers immediately called an ambulance to avert any danger to the baby. Pushpa went along with the mother and father to the Bheri Zonal Hospital, the biggest hospital in the region at 1 in the morning, admitted the baby at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit to make sure that the baby got the best possible chance at living.
This is why we need more health workers, better trained in every village so that ever baby born has an equal chance of surviving.
Photos and text by Sanjana Shrestha.