Ever complained about waiting times in ‘Emergency’? Just 8 weeks ago 27 year old Chea Chet full term pregnant and in advanced labour was refused care at her local hospital in Cambodia. Then she was sent home on the back of a motor bike.
Fortunately for this young woman labour didn’t end in tragedy. But it very nearly did.
Half way home she was unable to continue the journey. By herself, on her own at the side of the road she delivered her third child – a baby girl.
For anyone living in a modern society with relative affluence and good access to public health it’s hard to imagine. So why did this young woman get turned away from a local health clinic?
In a nation like Cambodia the public purse is not as deep as our own. Hospitals and health clinics are poorly resourced (including the health care workers that staff them). A government run hospital needs to make ends meet somehow and so it becomes an improvised user pay system.
Put bluntly, if the pregnant woman couldn’t pay, she didn’t get the help she needed.
High rates of maternal and infant mortality are due to a variety of factors. The inability to pay for care is just one. Others include a lack of trust in the system, inaccessibility to centres of care, overreliance on traditional medicines and methods, little or no antenatal care, no emergency planning, poor diet and a myriad of complications in labour. Essentially, having a baby in a developing nation is a life threatening event.
You can help change that. This year we’re expanding the Safe Arrivals Birth Attendant training to include a further six Cambodian provinces (making 15 in total). Help support this year’s training and plan a Safe Arrivals fundraiser today.