Today was my first day in clinic near the Myanmar border. The trip to the camps was loud, crowded and dangerous as we avoided hitting people, other cars and missed near head on collisions with other trucks.
The Hope Emergency Clinic is were I worked today. It is just outside the camps along the road way. Soon after opening the people came. I did a prenatal visit all the pregnant women who came. Everyone was between 5-9 months pregnant. All the babies felt very tiny.
Each women complaining of nausea, vertigo and stomach pains. All complaints that I knew were caused from being dehydrated, over heated and hungry. The answer water, food bit of AC and some rest is not possible for these women. I did not have water to hand them or a cool spot for them to rest but I was able to hand them each a Cliff bar and if the had a child with them a piece of fruit leather. It is truly heartbreaking to know I could not give them what they truly needed. You could see the sadness and desperation as I looked into each of their eyes. I really hope I was able to make each one feel special and cared for for moment I was with her.
There is so much work to be done and so many needs here that it feels overwhelming. My mission for tomorrow is to have a bottle of water and a piece of fruit for each mama that I see.
Your support is needed.
Today started with a stop to the hospital were all the doctors, local midwives and local health workers and students were packing up to head to the camps with us. There were many people standing around. One woman had a baby wrapped in blankets in her arms. A sweet little baby who had passed away after she given a C/S the night before. A day after a CS and with her precious baby in her arms she made her way back to camp to say her final good byes. 😢 I arrived at the clinic nauseous from the crazy ride getting there. (I can’t even explain the crazy scary driving that happens here)
Even though It was early morning it was already unbearably hot and humid. Sweat rolling down my back as we began to set up for the day. Today was a very busy day lots of pregnant women needed to be seen. All again with complaints of general weakness , headaches, abdominal pains. All needed water and food and a cool spot to rest.
Only one mama with a huge smile told us all was normal. She just wanted us to check on her baby.
I made many little friends today. One little boy stuck around the whole clinic day peaking through my window, and teasing me.
By the end of the day my little group of friends had grown to 8. They loved teasing me by getting me to look different places for no reason, we stuck out our tongues, made funny noises, clapped our hands and had many laughs. They followed me all the to the van waving and saying bye bye as we pulled away. Those kids sure uplifted my spirits. Even after a long hot day exhausting day these little people brought me so my joy
Today we arrived at hospital just a woman arrived by Tom Tom unable to walk. Another busy day at the emergency field clinic. A full day of prenatal visits and issues from fistulas, skin infections to headaches and fatigue.
At the end of the day we had one pregnant woman still waiting to be seen. The doctors working in the other chambers were unwilling to wait for us to see her. They left in the only van to take us back to Cox’s Bazar. So what do the midwives do? We see and care for our waiting client! This left us with no choice but to take a Tom Tom home. The ride was about 1 hour and 40 mins (ride cost us 1000 Takas about $10).
Oh man it was quite a ride. We are traveling along, honking, swerving, and slamming on the brakes as usual and then boom we hit another Tom Tom. (no worries we are ok) A van hit a rickshaw in front of us and the driver and the woman riding had be thrown out. Hopefully they are both ok. Now that we have had a few days of clinic and seeing what the needs are it’s time to make a plan. The plan is to find out all that is available from other NGO’s so that we are able to make sure all of the pregnant women we seeing, are getting the best care possible. I want to make sure they are getting prenatal visits, sick care as needed, assisted deliveries , postpartum care and extra food rations while pregnant and breastfeeding. This will be no easy task.
I spent the day at a birth center. I loved it. The 3 women who work there also live there. When a mother shows up they are ready to care for her. Midwifery as a profession is a new idea here in Bangladesh. I really hope the women embrace it.
Everyone was so welcoming. We were given a tour of the center, walked around the grounds, met their babies, served tea and toast, ate fruit I had never tasted and met brand new baby goats.
While I don’t share a common language with these women, the bond was still there. We are midwives
Today was extremely hot, busy and exhausting both mentally and physically for all. The clinic has been open a week and the word has definitely gotten out. Today we heard stories of husbands and children dying along the journey out of Myanmar. A 6 month pregnant woman who had been beaten by the Myanmar army showed up with extremely painful broken arm. As I was trying to get her a Tom Tom to the nearest field hospital for a X-ray and cast, a father dropped the most fragile 17 day old baby in my arms. At first I wasn’t even sure the baby was alive. Thankfully she was. She was suffering from a nasty skin infection😢. We were able to give her the medications she needed to heal.
As the day went on I was feeling drained, thirsty and wanting a break. I reminded myself that I am surrounded by some of strongest, most resliant women in the world. If they could carry on after being beaten, forced to leave their homeland, have their family members killed, built homes from bamboo and string, and manager to care for the children they have. I could carry on just being hot and tired. I will be blessed with AC, food and a bed tonight.
Another day of clinic. Another day caring for lots of pregnant women. Here I am seeing more women in one day than I do in a week at the Birth Center of Jacksonville. Many of the women who came to see us today were 9months pregnant. We didn’t have any clean birth kits to pass out. We requested more and I am really hoping the arrive quickly. The clean birth kits provide them with a clean place to have their baby and a clean blade to cut the cord. I had 4 women needing pregnancy test that I did not have either. I am hoping I can purchase those at the pharmacy in the morning. We asked each of them to come back in the morning.
I was lucky to have a translator today . Thank you Younus Khan.
The clinic is noisy, crowded, hot and without windows or doors and many women wait hours for their turn but all of the women are so grateful to receive any care we can give . I am honored to be able to care for them.
*I took these photos as were driving into the Palongkauli camp this morning**
Missing my people today. 😘😘 (Tiffany I love this photo of my loves.)
Today was another busy day of clinic. We saw many mamas who were 9 months. Several women who thought they are pregnant but actually aren’t . The stress, malnutrition and strenuous exercise have stopped them from having monthly cycles.
The camps are growing daily. More refugees needing our help. If you have it in your heart come to Bangladesh and help. Come! The need is greater than you ever imagine.