Mariama, aged 24, came to the hospital in labor. An ultrasound revealed a large baby and inadequate pelvis, requiring a C-section. Dr. Aruna Stevens and SHO Lawrence Kargbo performed an emergency caesarian section and Mariama delivered a healthy baby boy. After a brief stay in the hospital, Mariama and her baby were discharged.
Cephalo pelvic disproportion is a fairly common condition in Sierra Leone that may be caused by poor nutrition, including insufficient calcium and vitamin D. CPD can lead to fistula during birth, if the baby is not delivered by C-section.
"She was so happy and thanked the entire team for coming to her aid during this pandemic. And above all, she thanked the almighty God for also granting her heart desire," Hospital Administrator Jinnah Lahai reported.
Cesarean section deliveries save lives
The busy Mercy staff continues to deliver babies, through normal deliveries and cesarean deliveries when necessary. Since the operating suite opened in 2018, the hospital has been able to provide life-saving emergency c-section procedures, saving the lives of mothers who are not able to deliver vaginally.
The need for cesarean sections can be aggravated by a range of issues such as delays in accessing the appropriate level of care, and transportation delays. Sierra Leone has one of the highest maternal mortality ratios in the world, with 11 mothers dying of pregnancy-related complications for every 1000 live born babies. The ability to perform c-section procedures at Mercy Hospital is a critical element of the global movement to reduce maternal mortality.
Simple hernia procedures save the lives of babies and toddlers
Two-year-old Saidu's family brought him to the hospital suffering from an inguinal hernia, a condition that Mercy sees very often, possibly due to premature birth. Untreated, inguinal hernia can lead to permanent intestinal damage.
Successful surgery was performed on Saidu to correct the hernia. His family couldn't afford to pay for the life-saving procedure for their son, and were grateful for Mercy's excellent care, which was provided for free.
Inguinal hernias look like a bulge or swelling in the groin or scrotum, and may be seen more easily when the baby cries. A hernia can develop in the first few months after a baby is born. It happens because of a weakness in the abdominal muscles. To correct the hernia, the surgeon puts the loop of intestine back into the abdominal area and stitches the muscles together.
Mercy Hospital’s Dr. Sao Amara, and Sister August Kpanabaum completed training in surgical obstetric training; specifically cesarean section, in the Phillipines. Sister Kpanabaum shared that they learned from several different lecturers covering a range of skills and topics related to obstetrics and maternity surgeries. Along with lecture and classroom time, Dr. Amara and Sr. Augusta were able to engage in hands-on training including practicals on various incision techniques, sterilization of instruments and the maintenance of a sterile theater and surgical field. Four students in the course came from Sierra Leone, 1 from Urban Centre Freetown, one from Rotifunk hospital, and two from Mercy Hospital. Other students in the course hailed from Zimbabwe, Nigeria, Liberia.
To read more about the training, check out this article from UMC Mission!
Mercy received a blood bank on April 19, but is still in need of a solar system to ensure that the surgical ward, blood bank and Electronic Medical Information System has 24 hour power. Please contact email@example.com if you can help.
Isatu is 30 weeks pregnant and enrolled in Mercy Hospital's prenatal program. During a routine check she was found to be extremely anemic, a problem for anyone but especially dangerous for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Isatu was treated for the anemia and is now feeling much better.
“I appreciate the maternity unit for their help with my problem. I want to thank God for their efforts in saving my life," Isatu says. She successfully delivered her first child at Mercy and trusts the staff to take good care of her and her baby.
Mohamed Khadar and Ismael Vandy, members of Mercy Hospital's outreach team, were on a community mapping exercise to understand the needs in some of the villages reached by Mercy when they intervened to save the life of a woman who had just given birth to a stillborn baby.
The woman had given birth in her village and was walking the four miles to Kassama to seek medical treatment at the Maternal Child Health Post (MCHP). As she was walking, the woman began hemorrhaging and sought shelter in a hut by the side of the road. When Mohamed and Ismael encountered her, she was lying in a pool of blood and quickly losing consciousness. Mohamed immediately began treatment to stop the uterine bleeding and sent for help, which certainly saved the woman's life.
This story is far from typical for women giving birth in villages without MCHPs. The Sierra Leone government mandates that each village should be within four miles of a MCHP where women can seek treatment for themselves and their babies; but four miles is nearly an impossible distance to walk for a woman who has just given birth, let alone a woman who has had a complicated birth.
Thanks to Mohamed and Ismael's intervention, this woman survived. Clearly, there is a desperate need for more MCHPs in the villages served by Mercy's outreach teams.