Two of our staff go out into the rural areas around Soddo every week to deliver much needed prenatal care.  Over 95% of women in rural Ethiopia will deliver their baby with no professional attendant – midwife, nurse, or doctor.  Even more than that will have no prenatal care at all.  These are the reasons that we continue to see high maternal mortality and neonatal mortality in this country.  (A woman aged 15 has a one in 67 chance of dying in childbirth.  In the US, it is one in 2,400.)

Well our staff are doing something about it!  Every week, Sophie and Jodi head out “into the bush” to tend to these pregnant ladies.  Women come from all over, and line up to see them.  Occasionally, they will see a critically ill mom who needs prompt attention – those get referred on to the hospital.  One such woman came last Thursday.

Her complaint was that “water was coming out,” and indeed she had what we call “premature rupture of membranes” – her water broke too early.  She was only seven months pregnant.  Not only that, but she had lost two babies before.  Both at exactly the same time – seven months.

They loaded her up in the car, and brought her straight to Soddo Christian Hospital.  She was seen by Dr. Mark Karnes, our obstetrician, but the situation looked grim.  She was admitted, but a few days later went from bad to worse.  She abrupted her placenta (where the placenta tears away from the uterus), and began hemorrhaging.  It required an emergency C-section.  (Dangerous for mom because of the bleeding.  Dangerous for baby because these little ones often don’t have developed enough lungs to survive once they are out of the womb.  They lack something called surfactant which keeps the air sacs open in the lungs.  Fortunately, if the mom receives steroids in the hospital, this problem can be helped.)

A beautiful little girl was born, weighing less than three pounds, but breathing on her own – only occasionally requiring oxygen support.  Her mom couldn’t be more thrilled, and is cuddling her close to her body to keep her warm.  Something that is called “Kangaroo Care.”   And the new little one’s name says it all – Yabsera.  Literally “the work of God”.

Proud mom snuggling with her new little girl.
Proud mom snuggling with her new little girl.

St. Luke’s Health Care Foundation
(630) 510-2222
St. Luke's Health Care Foundation PO Box 4465
Wheaton, IL 60189-4465