Wednesday, August 31, 2011
A Peek Into My New World....
As many of you know, one of the primary reasons our family moved to the Philippines was so I could volunteer at a charity birth clinic here. I began my work there in mid-August and am still getting into the swing of things, but already I've been so impressed with the way the clinic is run, the care the buntis (pregnant women) recieve, and how I'm seeing God's love truly poured out on the poor. It is amazing!
I thought you might like to have an overview of what a typical week looks like in the clinic.
Monday's are busy. It is the day for "initial intake interviews", which simly means women can come in for their first appointments. They may have just found out they are pregnant, but more often they are 4-5 months already. The day begins with worship, a devotional, and a health teaching regarding some aspect of pregnancy - such as nutrition or fetal development. Afterwards each buntis is interviewed for medical history / pregnancy history, and then a prenatal exam is performed to make sure mom and baby are both doing well. Before each woman leaves, her midwife prays with her. We see 50-70 women in initial appointments each Monday.
Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday are "prenatal appointment" days. Each woman is assigned a day of the week for which she will come to her regular check-ups. Appointments are usually scheduled monthly, but she will always come on her assigned day of the week. The staff is also assigned a prenatal day - so pretty much the same midwives see the same women from visit to visit. We see between 50-90 women per day. I am on the Tuesday team, so this is the day I help with prenatal exams.
Thursday is outreach day. The clinic does five different outreaches in/around the city. We take traveling prenatal clinics to these women. There are two outreaches that serve women in the sex trade industry, one that ministers to the Muslim community and the sea gypsies, one that goes to an island off the coast, and one that ministers in a slum area here in the city. I will start attending outreaches in September and am hoping to be on the "slum" team. I recently had an opportunity to provide labor support to a woman from this outreach, and my heart was moved for this woman and others like her!
24/7, 365: The birth room is open. The birth room can accomodate five laboring women at a time - although we can fit a few more in if needed. And, we have a post partum room that can fit six women who've already given birth. I usually work one or two eight-hour shifts a week in the birth room. Midwives are also welcome to take "continuity" patients. This simply means that one midwife will provide all the prenatal care, be available for the woman's birth and post partum, and do all the baby checks and follow-up. I'm definitely not at that point yet, but hopefully will be able to provide that kind of support eventually.
This small birth room is a little slice of Heaven for the moms and babies here in the Philippines. It means they get trained, compassionate care - care they couldn't afford otherwise. Their lives and their babies lives are carefully watched and attended to!
The clinic oversees care for about 1500 women and their babies each year. In addition to outstanding prenatal, labor/delivery, and post partum care - these women are prayed with, given a Bible, and recieve care at little to no charge.
Sometimes in the United States we forget that birth doesn't always turn out well. Women in developing countries face unbelievable odds - more than 1/2 million women die in childbirth each year. Most experts belive this number could be reduced by more than 80 percent if these women had access to a trained birth attendant. I believe the model I'm seeing here is changing the statistics in the Philippines! What a privlege to be a part of it. If you have supported us in any way - you to are a part of this ministry - and I thank you! Please continue to pray for us...I can't begin to tell you how we feel/see the results of our prayer warriors here and how much it means to us! THANK YOU!
All praise be to the Lord Jesus Christ who was, and is, and is yet to come!