On 7 December 2017, I travelled to some remote villages that SWAN is working in. I had previously visited in 2013. Since my last visit, I realized the roads were more difficult to travel by. The livelihoods of people in the area had not changed.
During this trip I heard two cases of women who had difficulties giving birth and had to transfer to township hospitals in October and December 2017.
Our health workers shared a case story with me about a 40-year-old pregnant woman who had pain during her pregnancy. She waited for two days when bladder and liquid came out around 3 am in the morning. She was transferred to Karli sub-township hospital. While she arrived at hospital she was very weak and the hospital referred her to the Kunhing township hospital. Unfortunately, the woman and her unborn baby died.
The other case occurred in the evening of 6 December when a pregnant woman in her late 20s was in labor. The baby’s hand came out first but the rest of the body did not. The family tried to rent a car in their village to send her to the hospital but that night it was not possible. The next morning they were able to get a car from the neighboring village and sent her to the Kali sub-township hospital. They arrived at hospital around 10am. Unfortunately, the baby had died and the doctor had to do surgery to get a baby out from mother worm.
During a two-day visit to the SWAN project area in Karli sub-township five pregnant women came to see a health worker. The two women will give birth in December and they want a health worker to assist them for delivery. Unfortunately, the health worker had delivered her baby for only 16 days and she asked them to see the midwife who responsible in that area or to deliver at sub-township hospital. The health worker was worried that if they deliver at night she won’t be able to assist them. I asked them to go and see if they can arrange with a midwife who is responsible in this area regularly. They said she rarely came to their villages.
Moreover, pregnant women do not dare to go to hospital because they worry that the township hospitals will complain that they should have brought a midwife in their area. The health worker told them that if they go to the hospital they would assist you. To go and wait in the town for delivery is not easy for women and their families if no relative is there to assist them. Trips to the hospital are also expensive and many face a language barrier. Therefore, most pregnant women who need to deliver in township hospital want health workers to go with them for assistance.
In conclusion, there needs to be more improved and accessible infrastructure available for rural communities to make it easier to transfer pregnant women and patients to sub-townships and/or township hospitals. This will save the lives of mothers and babies. Additionally, if the mother can access ANC’s in the area, then the lives of patients in these very remote areas can be saved.