Monday, 26 November 2007

A woman from the mountain

From the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) blog, Message in a Bottle (in French).

Kaguro is a small mountain village in an attractive area in Darfur, and completely surrounded by rebels. MSF run a clinic there but there is no operating theatre, so cesarean sections aren't possible.

One day a wonan turned up, nine months pregnant with her second child. The first baby had been delivered by cesarean and the doctor realised that it was needed again. No choice, the mother would have to wait there for three days until the helicopter, the only safe way to travel in the region, would be arriving.

But after a few hours, the patient's waters broke and contractions began. The nearest hospital in Kebkabyia was eight hours' walk away. So she set off, with her family, riding on a donkey. Her only luggage was a blanket and a tin bowl.

The journey was difficult. They had to stop every 45 minutes or so, so that she could regain her breath and for the contractions to become more manageable, and then set out again on the stony way.

In the end it took more than 24 hours to arrive at the hospital, but there was a happy ending. The mother was delivered of a healthy baby boy and apart from fatigue she is progressing remarkably well.

MSF is the only medical organisation working in Kaguro. The health clinic is stretched to capacity, providing on average 3,500 consultations every month. Patients sometimes walk for five or six hours to get to the clinic, often at great personal risk.

There is more about the area in English.

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