Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A more serious observation...

We have had a lovely time here in Chicago with the wedding (pictures to follow...) It is a lovely place here with lots of parks and lovely weather. We have had the chance to catch up with lots of friends and be part of the wonderful wedding.

However, life goes on. In that I mean that while we have taken a break from Africa, life there goes on. Sarah and I follow a blog from a midwife who used to be at the Rosie (the hospital Sarah worked at) and is now out in Sierra Leone with VSO. The BBC last weekend continued their recent series on Sierra Leone with a report on her work there.

She blogged yesterday this short post:

Last week I went with Jenny Hardy - a freelance photographer who took photos of the Makeni Maternity Government Hospital that I have previously written about in my blog. During the visit we met the Antenatal Sister of the Makeni Government Maternity Department. I have worked with her on previous occasions as many of the student midwives where placed there.
The Antenatal Sister, when I met her last week was about 40 weeks pregnant and expecting her third baby. I asked her if she was still working in her Antenatal clinic as she was near term (40 weeks pregnant) she told me that she had only come to the maternity department to see how the staff all were.
I touched her belly and wished her well with her birth that was only going to be a few days away. She looked healthy and had grown a good sized baby - not too big or too small - just right. She was wearing a beautiful purple Gara cloth dress and looked radiant. She told me that she was looking forward to having her third child and we spoke about things like childcare and returning to work following the birth of her child.
Today the Sister of the Antenatal clinic of Makeni Maternity Hospital died in childbirth at her own Maternity Unit. I do not have any details - the baby - a much wanted little girl survived. This was a very good midwife - she will be missed by her family, student midwives, colleagues, mothers and babies and all those who came into contact with her.
Sadly she was that 1 in 8 that do not survive childbirth in Sierra Leone.
I'm not quite sure exactly what it is I wanted to say about this really except that the contrast between what we have seen during the last couple of weeks of holiday and the reality of life in Sierra Leone is difficult to reconcile - that these are both present realities on the same planet, at the same time, only a few hours flight from each other. I think perhaps it is not supposed to be reconciled but to be changed...


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