I’ve never seen a baby so big! He was less than four hours old but he looked ready to start his first day at kindergarten. Mum looked average, Dad looked average but this ‘little’ fella was anything but average -born at 10am in the morning at the provincial hospital weighing a whopping 5.8kgs!
Generally speaking new born babies appear fragile right? Not this one. But ironically it was his size that made his birthday every bit the miracle. Sadly, the majority of Cambodian pregnant women receive very little antenatal care. This mother was no exception. Arriving in the middle of the night at the local health centre the instructions were simple – “big baby, get to the hospital quickly”.
The 2h Safe Arrivals training program works in some of the most remote areas of Cambodia in an effort to identify and respond to situations like this one – before they happen. Very simply an early assessment can avoid a family tragedy. Working with traditional birth attendants (the frontline in village antenatal care) our message is clear and uncomplicated – “refer, refer, refer”.
In this way TBAs can recognise the warning signs well ahead of time and help mothers get the medical assistance they need, avoid life threatening emergencies and mitigate against costly expenses.
At three o’clock in the morning when this mum was in trouble, jumping in the family station wagon wasn’t an option – there wasn’t one. The cost of travelling the two and half hours to the hospital for this family in a hired car – US$45, the father’s annual income – US$150. The value of this ‘little’ boy’s life – priceless!