After a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, pregnant women and mothers now have no access to the medical support and postnatal care they desperately need.
Rita was just outside her home tying up the cow when all of a sudden the earth started shaking knocking her to the ground. While most people were trying to get out of their houses, Rita rushed to get inside where her four-year-old daughter and newborn son were napping, but the house came tumbling down into a heap of rubble before she could get her children out.
When the shaking stopped, everyone who was able sprang into action desperately trying to dig their loved ones out from underneath the rubble. Hearing her baby’s cries, Rita and her brother frantically removed the bricks and wood that had fallen into a cave around her son. Luckily, he was retrieved from the rubble without a scratch, but they were unable to reach her daughter. Sadly, she died when the house came down.
Rita lives in a remote village in the Sindhulpalchok district, where almost the entire village was completely leveled by the earthquake. More than 200 people died, so like Rita, many people are grieving the loss of their family members. People in the village are uniting like a family to pool together whatever food, clothing and shelter as they struggle to pick up the pieces after such devastating loss.
This is an especially desperate situation for pregnant women and those with newborns like Rita. She’s currently living with her son and mother-in-law in a greenhouse with only rice to eat. Like every building in the village, the health clinic was completely destroyed, which means pregnant women and women with newborns have no access to medical support and post-natal care they desperately need.
There are currently 50 pregnant women in desperate need of healthcare in the village. One of them is Mingwa, who is due in one week. Luckily, her family were all outside during the earthquake and survived, but their house did not. They are currently staying in a makeshift tent that doesn’t keep them dry when the rains come.
“I’m so afraid to deliver my baby. We lost everything. I have no clothes for him and our food resources are is running out,” said Mingwa. “I had been going to the health clinic, and the nurse is still here to help with my delivery, but there are no medicines left since they are trapped inside the collapsed clinic.”
To help, CARE will be providing Mingwa and other pregnant women with safe birthing kits since there is no access to a hospital to deliver their baby. These kits include items like plastic sanitary sheeting for her to deliver on, a disposable blade for cutting the umbilical cord, gloves, gauze and towel. They’ll also receive items for their babies, like diapers and blankets to keep them clean and warm.
For the nurses, CARE will also provide additional essential reproductive health items for pregnant women and women with newborns. Medicines and supplies to assist with safe deliveries, and also to handle complications in delivery.
The plan is for every woman in the village district, including Mingwa and Rita to have the medical support they need to safely deliver and care for their babies. CARE has already sent these safe birthing kits to villages in Gorkha, and in the coming days will be reaching villages in the districts of Lamjung, Dhading and Sindupalchok.