After being trapped in the birth canal for several hours, Amina’s baby girl had little chance of survival. Médecins Sans Frontières midwife Priscilla, continues:
“I picked her up, dried her thoroughly, clamped and cut the umbilical cord, wrapped her carefully and warmly, and placed her on the resuscitation table.
Afterwards, once the baby was being monitored, I went back to check on Amina who had now started bleeding. We got this under control and moved her to the maternity ward for observation.
I started the baby on IV fluids and also on antibiotics because her mother had been in labour for more than 24 hours at home. I covered her in a thermal blanket and started an observation and treatment chart for her, too.
Before I could hand the newborn over [to Amina], I had a long talk with her. We talked about the baby’s condition and that she may not survive.
At this point, I was not sure what the best treatment for this baby would be – we did not have an incubator or a proper neonatal intensive care unit. So, she had to be on the ward with other mothers and babies around her.
For several weeks the baby’s condition was up and down. Everybody, all the staff and all the family, had to work together for this baby.
After the fourth week, she started gaining weight, little by little.
But then, one day when checking on her, we found her unresponsive and gasping for air. I immediately took her to the resuscitation room and began treating her. She improved but she was now much weaker.
She continued to have these attacks, so we treated her with more IV fluids and antibiotics. However, gradually, she improved.
When she was fully stabilised, I asked her mother to start holding her baby against her chest. We call this ‘kangaroo mother care’. She started breastfeeding well and we continued monitoring the baby's weight regularly.
After two and a half months in hospital, the baby weighed two kilos and was finally well enough to go home. Nobody had ever seen such a fragile, premature baby survive in such a remote place."
Being with MSF has taught me that with teamwork, we can provide high-quality, comprehensive healthcare even with limited resources. We can save lives.