Posts tagged pregnancy

Photo: Jeannine Ntunzwenimana holds her newborn baby. Burundi 2012 © Sarah ElliottMSF @ Instagram
Jeannine Ntunzwenimana, 20, was seven months pregnant when her water broke. “This is my second child, my first is three years and six months old. My first pregnancy was by c-section at the MSF hospital. My water broke early, I was very affraid because it was too soon. I went to the nearest health centre at Gitaza. It was one and a half hour walk away. An ambulance from MSF came to pick me up. The health centre called them because they said they weren’t able to help the baby. If MSF was not here, I could’ve died and my baby too. The way they welcome us is very different to other places.” Jeannine named her daughter Fridatienne Itangakubuntu who weighed 1.3 kilos when she was born two weeks ago. MSF has worked in Burundi since 1992. 
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Photo: Jeannine Ntunzwenimana holds her newborn baby. Burundi 2012 © Sarah Elliott

MSF @ Instagram

Jeannine Ntunzwenimana, 20, was seven months pregnant when her water broke. “This is my second child, my first is three years and six months old. My first pregnancy was by c-section at the MSF hospital. My water broke early, I was very affraid because it was too soon. I went to the nearest health centre at Gitaza. It was one and a half hour walk away. An ambulance from MSF came to pick me up. The health centre called them because they said they weren’t able to help the baby. If MSF was not here, I could’ve died and my baby too. The way they welcome us is very different to other places.” Jeannine named her daughter Fridatienne Itangakubuntu who weighed 1.3 kilos when she was born two weeks ago. MSF has worked in Burundi since 1992. 

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The Risks of Childbirth in Somalia

Doctor Hamida Shakib Mohamed just helped deliver a healthy boy weighing 3.6 kilograms [about 8 pounds]. It’s a good thing the mother made it to this health center; it was a difficult labor and she needed the assistance of a skilled birth attendant using a vacuum device to complete the delivery. She lives in a village about 110 kilometers [about 68 miles] north of here, but her father insisted she make the trip. He appreciates the MSF–supported services here after his wife was treated for post-partum hemorrhaging just a few months ago. “We give the right care," says Dr. Hamida, "so people come to us.”

Last December, MSF expanded its medical services in Galcayo North to include maternity and obstetric care. The number of deliveries has since boomed to about 200 per month, with many mothers coming from increasingly far away. Dr. Hamida is happy about that. She’s Somali, educated in Mogadishu in the 1980s, but holds a foreign passport and has lived abroad for most of the past two decades. “Now that my children are grown,” she says “I’m free and I want to give my energy to the Somali community.” She couldn’t be more needed.A baby rests in the inpatient post-natal department of MSF’s Galcayo South hospital.
Somalia 2011 © Siegfried Modola

The Risks of Childbirth in Somalia

Doctor Hamida Shakib Mohamed just helped deliver a healthy boy weighing 3.6 kilograms [about 8 pounds]. It’s a good thing the mother made it to this health center; it was a difficult labor and she needed the assistance of a skilled birth attendant using a vacuum device to complete the delivery. She lives in a village about 110 kilometers [about 68 miles] north of here, but her father insisted she make the trip. He appreciates the MSF–supported services here after his wife was treated for post-partum hemorrhaging just a few months ago. “We give the right care," says Dr. Hamida, "so people come to us.

Last December, MSF expanded its medical services in Galcayo North to include maternity and obstetric care. The number of deliveries has since boomed to about 200 per month, with many mothers coming from increasingly far away. Dr. Hamida is happy about that. She’s Somali, educated in Mogadishu in the 1980s, but holds a foreign passport and has lived abroad for most of the past two decades. “Now that my children are grown,” she says “I’m free and I want to give my energy to the Somali community.” She couldn’t be more needed.

A baby rests in the inpatient post-natal department of MSF’s Galcayo South hospital.
Somalia 2011 © Siegfried Modola

When I get to the hospital, the patient is prepared for the operating theatre, and just waiting for me to evaluate her. She is 3cm dilated – which is very early in labor – and yet her contractions have stopped. The fetal head is so high up in the pelvis that the midwife’s fingers can barely touch it – a bad sign.

Veronica Ades is an obstetrician-gynecologist on her first MSF mission in Aweil, South Sudan. She has not yet mastered the art of the pit latrine.

Read more from her blog.

On this Mother’s Day, let’s remember that 1,000 women still tragically die every day in childbirth or from pregnancy-related complications that are preventable with skilled clinicians, drugs and equipment. Maternal death is an ongoing crisis, but it is an avoidable crisis and it deserves our attention.
Kara Blackburn, from Brisbane, Australia, is a registered nurse/midwife who joined Doctors Without Borders in 2006. She has practiced midwifery for 14 years. In her current role as medical advisor for women’s health, based in Sydney, Blackburn supports a number of Doctors Without Borders women’s health projects globally.

Read the rest of her article from WomensENews.org
The baby is cleaned off, examined and wrapped in a towel. Katie, the Australian midwife, brings the baby to the mother’s face so that she can see her while we are finishing the c-section. The mother makes no expression, but tears roll down her face when she sees her healthy baby.
MSF obstetrician-gynecologist, Veronica Ades, tells the story of delivering a baby for a patient who has already lost her first two and how women’s reactions to these traumatic experiences in South Sudan differ so massively from those in the U.S., where Veronica is from.
By Foot, Bike, Car, or Canoe: Patient and Staff Stories of Malaria in DRC


“My name is Zamukunda. I tested positive for malaria at the health center. This morning I delivered my first child, a boy who weighed 1.6 kg [3.5 pounds]. My labor began very late last night, which was a surprise because I was still far from my delivery date. I was in a lot of pain and was bleeding, which made me worry, so I left the house with my mother and we walked for two hours to reach this health center.

My baby was born at two in the morning. He was not breathing very well and I was continuing to bleed so MSF decided to transfer us in their car from Kashuga to the main hospital in Mweso. We picked up another woman and her child who was very sick with malaria. The trip took only an hour since there has not been much rain. Now I am in the intensive care unit at the hospital with my baby, who is on oxygen. So far we are doing okay.”

Zamukunda’s son was born at seven months. She did not know how malaria would affect her pregnancy or her baby. The high fevers caused by the disease can provoke contractions and lead to premature delivery. Zamukunda and her son are receiving treatment at MSF’s Mweso hospital.Photo: DRC 2012 © Sandra Smiley
Patients receiving malaria treatment in an MSF-supported hospital in Katanga province.

By Foot, Bike, Car, or Canoe: Patient and Staff Stories of Malaria in DRC

“My name is Zamukunda. I tested positive for malaria at the health center. This morning I delivered my first child, a boy who weighed 1.6 kg [3.5 pounds]. My labor began very late last night, which was a surprise because I was still far from my delivery date. I was in a lot of pain and was bleeding, which made me worry, so I left the house with my mother and we walked for two hours to reach this health center.

My baby was born at two in the morning. He was not breathing very well and I was continuing to bleed so MSF decided to transfer us in their car from Kashuga to the main hospital in Mweso. We picked up another woman and her child who was very sick with malaria. The trip took only an hour since there has not been much rain. Now I am in the intensive care unit at the hospital with my baby, who is on oxygen. So far we are doing okay.

Zamukunda’s son was born at seven months. She did not know how malaria would affect her pregnancy or her baby. The high fevers caused by the disease can provoke contractions and lead to premature delivery. Zamukunda and her son are receiving treatment at MSF’s Mweso hospital.

Photo: DRC 2012 © Sandra Smiley Patients receiving malaria treatment in an MSF-supported hospital in Katanga province.

Better Treatment for HIV-Positive Pregnant Women

The World Health Organization recently issued new guidelines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The recommendations include getting more women on treatment sooner and staying on it for life. The guidelines have the support of Doctors Without Borders.

Read more on this article from Voice of America.


Photo: MSF / Brendan Bannon
MSF HIV specialist Dr. Eamonn Vitt examines an HIV positive Ugandan woman who’s 7 months pregnant. (Nov. 2009)

Better Treatment for HIV-Positive Pregnant Women

The World Health Organization recently issued new guidelines to prevent mother-to-child transmission of HIV. The recommendations include getting more women on treatment sooner and staying on it for life. The guidelines have the support of Doctors Without Borders. Read more on this article from Voice of America. Photo: MSF / Brendan Bannon
MSF HIV specialist Dr. Eamonn Vitt examines an HIV positive Ugandan woman who’s 7 months pregnant. (Nov. 2009)

It is only in this moment that I start to process the injustice of this. She is 18 years old. She was having her first baby. That is what is killing her.
Veronica Ades, an obstetrician-gynecologist on her first MSF mission in Aweil, South Sudan.

Read more from her blog post.
My perspective definitely changed. This program has absolutely had a positive impact in Nigeria. In 2011, we performed more surgeries than any other fistula hospital in the country, and we had many women leaving our hospital dry, or at least able to live some semblance of a normal life.
Kate Pittel
A Nurse with MSF speaking about her time in Nigeria

Read the full article from the Oakland Press here.
The Avoidable Crisis of Maternal DeathMSF makes it a priority to provide lifesaving, emergency obstetric care in both acute and chronic humanitarian crises. MSF teams strive to address the five main causes of maternal death: hemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labour.

	In a conflict or crisis, pregnant women are even more vulnerable because health services have collapsed, are inadequate, or are totally non-existent. But these women need access to quality emergency obstetric care whether they live in a conflict zone, in a refugee camp, or under plastic sheeting after a devastating earthquake.

	In fact, they need the same help that all pregnant women facing a complication need: access to appropriate medical assistance—skilled medical staff, drugs, and equipment—to save their life and the life of their baby.

	Conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, or the complete breakdown of a country’s health system are crises faced by MSF’s millions of patients around the world every day. But a maternal death: that’s the avoidable crisis.

Infographic by Will Owen

The Avoidable Crisis of Maternal Death

MSF makes it a priority to provide lifesaving, emergency obstetric care in both acute and chronic humanitarian crises. MSF teams strive to address the five main causes of maternal death: hemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labour.

In a conflict or crisis, pregnant women are even more vulnerable because health services have collapsed, are inadequate, or are totally non-existent. But these women need access to quality emergency obstetric care whether they live in a conflict zone, in a refugee camp, or under plastic sheeting after a devastating earthquake.

In fact, they need the same help that all pregnant women facing a complication need: access to appropriate medical assistance—skilled medical staff, drugs, and equipment—to save their life and the life of their baby.

Conflict, epidemics, natural disasters, or the complete breakdown of a country’s health system are crises faced by MSF’s millions of patients around the world every day. But a maternal death: that’s the avoidable crisis.

Infographic by Will Owen

The insufficient capacity of the Iraqi health system to respond to the medical needs of the population has contributed to an unprecedented increase of maternal and infant mortality rates in the country. In 2007, the World Health Organization estimated the Maternal Mortality ratio to be 300 per 100,000 live births. According to the latest UNICEF State of the World’s Children report, Iraq presents a neonatal mortality rate of 64, while neighboring Syria and Jordan presented a neonatal mortality rate of 7 and 16 respectively.
Shinjiro Murata,
An MSF field coordinator from Japan, worked with MSF in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, where his main focus was setting up a new project focused on improving perinatal and obstetric care in one of the largest referral hospitals in the region.

Here, he talks about his experience.
Iraq: Working to Reduce Neonatal Mortality in Najaf


Shinjiro Murata, a MSF field coordinator from Japan, worked with MSF in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, where his main focus was setting up a new project focused on improving perinatal and obstetric care in one of the largest referral hospitals in the region. Here, he talks about his experience:

“I arrived in Najaf more than a year ago, in October 2010, to start an MSF project in the Al Zahara District Hospital. Najaf is located 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Baghdad and is one of the holiest cities for Shia Muslims. It was not an easy task, and surely a challenging experience to be working in such a different country. My previous experience with MSF was in Africa, so when I started working in Najaf I realized that I would need to see things from a different perspective and adapt to the reality of a country that used to have a very well organized health system but, due to decades of conflict and international sanctions, has seen a rampant deterioration in health care provision.

MSF decided to start a medical program to support the main Ministry of Health referral hospital, the Al Zahara District Hospital, for obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics in Najaf city. The hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the region, with a 340-bed capacity, and it deals with approximately 1,950 deliveries per month. These account for almost 50 percent of the deliveries carried out in the whole Najaf Governorate, which has a total population of 1.2 million people. It is most of the time overcrowded with patients and the quality of medical services provided is sometimes not adequate.

After more than one year in Najaf I have seen that medical needs in the country are still very high. Until peace is restored in Iraq, MSF needs to continue supporting these pregnant women and newborn children. MSF is one of the few international medical humanitarian organizations working inside Iraq thanks to its independent, neutral, and impartial nature.Iraq 2011 © MSF
Two newborn babies in Al Zahara District Hospital, where MSF has been working since 2010

Iraq: Working to Reduce Neonatal Mortality in Najaf

Shinjiro Murata, a MSF field coordinator from Japan, worked with MSF in the southern Iraqi city of Najaf, where his main focus was setting up a new project focused on improving perinatal and obstetric care in one of the largest referral hospitals in the region. Here, he talks about his experience:

“I arrived in Najaf more than a year ago, in October 2010, to start an MSF project in the Al Zahara District Hospital. Najaf is located 160 kilometers (99 miles) south of Baghdad and is one of the holiest cities for Shia Muslims. It was not an easy task, and surely a challenging experience to be working in such a different country. My previous experience with MSF was in Africa, so when I started working in Najaf I realized that I would need to see things from a different perspective and adapt to the reality of a country that used to have a very well organized health system but, due to decades of conflict and international sanctions, has seen a rampant deterioration in health care provision.

MSF decided to start a medical program to support the main Ministry of Health referral hospital, the Al Zahara District Hospital, for obstetrics, gynecology, and pediatrics in Najaf city. The hospital is one of the largest hospitals in the region, with a 340-bed capacity, and it deals with approximately 1,950 deliveries per month. These account for almost 50 percent of the deliveries carried out in the whole Najaf Governorate, which has a total population of 1.2 million people. It is most of the time overcrowded with patients and the quality of medical services provided is sometimes not adequate.

After more than one year in Najaf I have seen that medical needs in the country are still very high. Until peace is restored in Iraq, MSF needs to continue supporting these pregnant women and newborn children. MSF is one of the few international medical humanitarian organizations working inside Iraq thanks to its independent, neutral, and impartial nature.

Iraq 2011 © MSF
Two newborn babies in Al Zahara District Hospital, where MSF has been working since 2010

Maternal Health: An Ongoing Emergency

MSF is providing maternal and emergency obstetric care in more than 30 countries worldwide, but in places where woman cannot access care, some 1,000 die every day due to complications in pregnancy and delivery.

Urgent Delivery—Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis


Every day, approximately 1,000 women die in childbirth or from a pregnancy-related complication. Maternal death can occur at any time in pregnancy, but delivery is by far the most dangerous time for both the mother and the baby. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented if access to emergency obstetric care is ensured.Doctors Without Borders makes it a priority to provide lifesaving, emergency obstetric care in both acute and chronic humanitarian crises. In the organization’s emergency activities, teams strive to address the five main causes of maternal death: hemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labour.

South Sudan 2011 © Avril Benoit/MSF
A mother and child at MSF’s supplementary feeding distribution in Abathok.

Urgent Delivery—Maternal Death: The Avoidable Crisis

Every day, approximately 1,000 women die in childbirth or from a pregnancy-related complication. Maternal death can occur at any time in pregnancy, but delivery is by far the most dangerous time for both the mother and the baby. The vast majority of these deaths can be prevented if access to emergency obstetric care is ensured.

Doctors Without Borders makes it a priority to provide lifesaving, emergency obstetric care in both acute and chronic humanitarian crises. In the organization’s emergency activities, teams strive to address the five main causes of maternal death: hemorrhage, sepsis, unsafe abortion, hypertensive disorders, and obstructed labour.

South Sudan 2011 © Avril Benoit/MSF A mother and child at MSF’s supplementary feeding distribution in Abathok.

DRC: “I Got on the Motorbike With the Midwife”

Doctors Without Borders makes it a priority to provide life-saving, emergency obstetric care in both acute and chronic humanitarian crises. Fifteen percent of all pregnancies worldwide will experience a life-threatening complication. The most critical moment is delivery: the majority of maternal deaths occur just before, during, or just after delivery, often from complications that cannot be predicted. It is at this point that the provision of quality obstetric care is vital to save women’s lives. The majority of maternal deaths are avoidable when access to emergency obstetric care is ensured.

View MSF’s International Women’s Day video on Haiti.

View the International Women’s Day video on South Sudan.

View MSF’s International Women’s Day video on Pakistan.