In pictures: A visit to Baga Sola Hospital

Fighting the reproductive health crisis in Baga Sola

Above, Dr. Hailemariam Tafesse Mengsha visits his patient Fatima, her newborn and her mother. Fatima gave birth to a healthy baby boy just two days before this picture was taken. Because Chad has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, many women there experience perilous deliveries.

International Medical Corps works with thousands of committed healthcare professionals. Originally from Ethiopia, Dr. Mengsha has assisted communities in need since 2004. Previously providing care in countries such as Sudan (Darfur), Sierra Leone and South Sudan, Dr. Mengsha now supports the District Hospital in Baga Sola, Chad.

On-call 24 hours a day, he is in charge of caesarean births and other emergency surgeries. He also trains hospital staff.

In Chad’s Lake Region, International Medical Corps runs several health centers and mobile clinics, as well as the District Hospital in Baga Sola (above).

Aside from medical care, we provide the facilities with equipment, drugs and human resources support. This approach supports both primary and secondary healthcare services, as well as long-term capacity building.

Above, Fatima and her mother Khadidja with the latest addition to the family. Khadidja tells our team that this is Fatima’s first child. “I have a lot of experience with children,” adds Khadidja with a gentle laugh. A mother to seven and grandmother to six, she says, “ I can help with the boy.”

The baby boy was delivered through caesarean section. Familiar only with natural births, Fatima was at first hesitant, but Dr. Mengsha and the midwife convinced the young mother that, given the circumstances, a caesarean birth was the safest option for her and her son. A midwife at the hospital explained to our team about the importance of communicating when a caesarean is needed to save the life or mother and baby, and how convincing the patient can sometimes take several hours.

Our team asked Fatima how she was feeling after the surgery. “Sometimes my scar hurts but I feel fine,” she told us.

“I’m thankful my baby is okay.”

“We haven’t named him yet. We are waiting for the husband,” says Fatima’s mother, Khadidja. “According to tradition,” she adds, “you wait for a week until you name the baby.”

Above, 16-year-old Zeneba’s mother holds her grandson while her daughter recovers from a caesarean section at the Baga Sola District Hospital in Chad. Adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death because of pregnancy than other women do, and almost all preventable deaths take place in developing countries.

Millions of babies die each year before turning one month old. 1 million die on the same day they were born. The deaths are an ongoing, silent tragedy and most of them are entirely preventable.

At International Medical Corps, we believe that bringing life into this world should be a safe and joyous occasion, no matter where a birth takes place.

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