The Long Road to Delivery

When I went to see Padma in our maternity ward, I couldn’t believe she had just delivered a baby boy a few days ago. She looked 60, but was only 35.

Perhaps all of the years of hard work, and the challenges of living in rural Nepal, had taken a toll on her body. Her lean body and the wrinkles on her face said it all.

Padma is married to her 61-year-old husband, who is a farmer. Together they have an 8-year-old son. Their family lives in a small village that’s a two hour drive from our hospital.

They have a hard time making ends meet; like many families in the hills of Nepal, they can only survive for a few months at a time from the crops on their small piece of land.

Our Community Health team met Padma during her first group antenatal care (ANC) visit when she was four months pregnant.

By working with and strengthening government clinics, our Community Health team organizes monthly ANC visits for pregnant mothers. Here, they receive group care, maternal and neonatal health education, and social support.

At Padma’s first ANC meeting, our team discovered she showed signs of mental illness, so we started monitoring her health closely. During the second ANC visit, we brought her to the hospital where she was diagnosed with a prolapsed uterus caused by her first pregnancy. As a result, our community health team continued following up with her regularly through group ANC meetings and visits at her home.

The Barriers to Care

Just a few days ago, our doctor Bishal received a call from a worker at a health clinic about Padma’s condition. She went into early labor and there was no midwife present at the clinic to take care of her — a stark reality, and problem our team is continuously working to solve.

Our hospital ambulance was already in use. All phone networks were down that day, and the last message we received was that someone was arranging for a jeep to send Padma to our hospital.

She did not show up that morning.

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