Saved just in time: one mother's story of survival
World Vision/Women of Vision
Eight rusty beds were crammed in a tiny rural health center, each topped by an uncovered black vinyl mattress. The beds were full -- each with at least two patients per bed –mostly children with malaria. This was the only hope of medical care for 26-year-old Victoria. As she was rushed into the center in Northern Kenya, she was already in labor with her third child. The baby was coming two months early and with an unexpected audience -- a handful of mothers visiting from the United States. I was one of them.
I had come with the group Women of Vision. We’re women from all over the United States who work with the non-profit World Vision to improve the lives of people around the world and in our own communities. When our group took this journey overseas, I know many of us believed this would be the trip of a lifetime. But I think few of us could have imagined that it would be the trip of a lifetime for this young mother as well. Victoria had malaria and was very sick. Her tiny newborn, Rebecca, was dangerously underweight. Without an incubator, IVs, or an ambulance to transport mother and daughter to a hospital, the outcome seemed bleak.
Unfortunately, it’s a story that’s all too common for millions of mothers and their babies. Every year, nearly 3.2 million tiny newborns die within a month of their birth from illnesses like malaria and diarrhea. Every day, 1,000 mothers die in pregnancy and childbirth. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Nearly all of those deaths could be prevented with simple medical care, immunizations or bed nets.
Many pregnant women in the developing world face the same dilemma as Victoria and Rebecca: solutions are simple - but not available - for women without enough money to pay for them or access to nearby healthcare. Gratefully, the presence of the World Vision clinic meant a chance at a survival for this mother and child. Staff members were able to use a vehicle to rush Victoria and Rebecca to a nearby hospital for life-saving care and medicine. The Women of Vision and supported Victoria with 100 US dollars to meet some of the baby’s basic needs. Little Rebecca has been immunized against deadly diseases that often kill children in Kenya before their fifth birthday. And because of other World Vision projects in the area, the family will have easy access to clean water. Despite a tumultuous birth, it’s a bright future for Victoria and Rebecca.
Take the ChallengeEvery 90 seconds a woman needlessly loses her life in pregnancy or childbirth. But 80% of these are preventable. Take action now:
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