Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Baby Per Day

Mthabiseng (Right) &

The maternity ward has always been in high demand here at St. James. With out a doubt, it is the most used service that St. James provides to the Mantsonyane community. The current maternity ward opened in 1982. It has space for 10 mothers including a labor room, nursery, antenatal care, and care for c-section patients. The maternity ward is run by two of St. James' staff nurses, Mthabiseng and ‘Mamokhalemele.

Expecting mothers show up to St. James sometimes months before their delivery date. They are housed at the expecting mothers lodge while they wait for the arrival of their child. The lodge is always busy. On average, 40-45 babies are delivered every month in the maternity ward. That means at least 1 baby is born everyday at St. James! That’s not counting the babies that are born at the 6 other health posts run by St. James. I can only imagine how many babies the St. James staff has delivered in the past 50 years! It’s got to be a staggering number.

Expecting Mothers Lodge

St. James' only incubator
St. James got its first incubator in 1986. This may seem pretty late, but up until that point St. James was not connected to a reliable power supply. Today, the maternity ward only has one incubator. The two babies in the photo were born premature back in late May. They’ve spent the first month of their lives in the incubator, but I’m happy to say that they are doing well and will be able to go home soon! Luckily, no other child has needed the incubator while these two have been in there. With only one incubator, the maternity staff often has to make very difficult decisions about which babies need the incubator the most.

About 15% of births are C-section deliveries. There were 2 C-section deliveries this week. The woman in the photo had her baby earlier this week. She’s doing well! The child doesn’t have a name yet. Traditionally, children aren’t named until they return to their village. The second C-section happened yesterday. Dr. Mack, one of our new doctors from The Congo, performed the surgery. He invited me into the operating theater to photograph the procedure, but I respectively declined.

Mthabiseng with the new baby!

Dr. Mack in the Operating Theater

Time sure is going quick! I only have 7 weeks left here in Lesotho, and there is so much to do in that short amount of time. The website will be finished by the end of the month, and then next month will be very busy. HOPE Africa will be making a visit, and I’m pleased to say that Holly Milburn, the YASCer in Cape Town, will be joining them. Then after that, I’ll head down to Maseru for a week to work a bit with the Diocesan Offices. After all that, it will nearly be time to head home! My mind isn’t processing that yet. Sala Hantle!

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