Friday, July 16, 2010

Too late...

A little girl was born at 3:20 pm in a community clinic in Freetown.
The mother was doing okay but the child was not.
The little baby was not crying.
She was not moving.
As seconds passed by, the child was turning blue.

Meanwhile, at the Children’s Hospital, doctors and nurses were attending to patients in the Emergency Room.
Ready for patients to come in for stabilization and treatment.
At this hospital, children come in from all over Freetown as well as from up-country.
Some arrive to the hospital on time but others come in too late.
Too late for a good outcome.

Unfortunately for this little girl, she had been referred to the hospital for neonatal resuscitation.
Resuscitation that should have taken place immediately after she was born.
It didn’t however, and it took the family an hour and a half to get to the hospital.
By the time they arrived, it was too late.
The doctor in the Emergency Room had to pronounce the child dead on arrival.

So now, a new mother is grieving the loss of her child.
And a child has become another statistic.
The stark reality of infant mortality has shown its face once again.
Sierra Leone, a country where 123 out of 1000 infants do not reach the age of 1.
A country with a desperate need for improved health care.

For the mothers and fathers who have had to bury their newborn babies.
And for the children who are yet to enter this world.
Let there be change.
Training of healthcare staff in neonatal resuscitation should become a priority.
And resuscitation should be able to be carried out in all health facilities in Sierra Leone.

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