Liberia – New Mothers at CH Rennie Hospital

Date: 14.02.2013
Category: Health

In December 2012 I spent two days taking stills in a Maternity Ward at CH Rennie Hosptial in Margibi, Liberia. Most deliveries in Liberia still take place under the supervision of Traditional Birth Attendants, others in clinics with only the most basic care and without doctors. These women were lucky enough to live in the vicinity – within a couple of hours travel – of the hospital, which runs a good ambulance service.  All of these women had complicated births, the majority required a caesarian. Without hospital care most of these women would have lost their babies, and in some cases their own lives. This care is funded by Save the Children.

This is Maria’s first child, a baby girl about one hour old. She gave birth in a clinic in Salala, a short drive from the hospital.  She had a postpartum hemorrage and the baby was feverish.  Maria had been admitted three times in the previous weeks for anemia and malaria, so both mother and baby were held for tests.

Patience went into labour at home, unexpectedly, and gave birth to her second child eight weeks prematurely. The baby was rushed to the hospital by her family where her cord was cut and he was wrapped warmly. A little later he was observed to have difficulty breathing and Nursing Assistant, Nancy Lahai, evacuated mucus from her lungs, saving the baby’s life.

This is Satta’s 6th child and 7th pregnancy. She had one abortion, and two children died as babies. The other children were all delivered at home. She came to the hospital having been refused treatment by a traditional birth attendant who feared prosecution after a change in legislation to encourage institutional delivery.

Selina, 18, was rushed into hospital by ambulance when she fell unconscious after convulsions. She was diagnosed with Eclampsia and rushed to the operating theatre for a Caesarean section, once a member of her family was identified as a blood donor. (There are no supplies of blood in the hospital). This was her first pregnancy and she was surprised to give birth to twin baby boys – there are no routine antenatal scans.  Selina’s mother, Kima, shows her daughter how to breastfeed.

I really enjoyed my time in CH Rennie. Motherhood is a beautiful thing. Here are more scenes with other mothers, Comfort, Bendu, Fata, Princess and Precious, feeding their newborns. I wish them all health and happiness.

Raj Yagnik 2013