Timing is Everything: Anita’s Story
In Ucayali region of Peru, many small indigenous villages are far away from health care facilities such as hospitals or clinics. In some cases, it can take up to a day to reach a health post, and in emergency situations, these journeys prove to be too long for those in need of urgent care.
Anita is a volunteer community health worker in this region trained through INMED’s Healthy Babies program. She has experienced first-hand how important every second can be for a newborn child, especially in emergency situations.
“One day I was out on the sidewalk when suddenly I saw a poor family running around and screaming in panic,” she said. “I approached them and saw they were carrying a baby girl. I took the baby’s hand and felt that she had an abnormal body temperature, and that her head was large compared with her body.
Anita, who knows the importance of seeking medical attention as quickly as possible, went directly to the clinic with the family. The doctor said if the baby responded well to the medicine she would survive. After 30 minutes the baby began to cry and the mother thanked the doctor.
“I had my son at home. He almost died because there was no one to help me. Now that I am expecting my third child, I will come here to have the baby because… it’s safer.”
“The baby stayed in the clinic and was diagnosed with malnutrition,” Anita said, “and the case was determined to be high risk. At that time, the baby was eight months old. Now, the baby is three years old and is healthy and chubby!”
As part of their Healthy Babies program, INMED constructed maternity waiting homes in the Ucayali region to help women prior to and after giving birth. One mother in this region gave birth at home, which almost killed her baby because there was no one nearby to give her medical assistance. This experience convinced the young mother how critical it is to deliver your baby in a health care facility.
“I had my second baby at the maternity waiting home,” she said, “and it was nice because they treated me well and I was able to rest. Now that I am expecting my third child, I will come here to have the baby because the midwife is very good and it’s safer.”
Anita’s story is a testament to how much of a positive impact the Healthy Babies program can have on childbirth. By providing invaluable care when it’s needed most, INMED and maternity waiting homes have prevented complications and deaths among countless women and their infants.