Junkali Rokaya, a 30 year old pregnant woman, walked for 30 minutes to reach the PHASE run Maila health post in Humla District for the delivery of her 4th baby. After a general check-up for vital signs, these were not as expected. The baby was in a breech presentation, so the PHASE staff monitored the condition of the mother closely. Later on they again checked the position, but this hadn’t improved. By that time the membrane was showing signs of being broken and stained, making her condition very dangerous. The team urged her family to take her to a higher care centre, but they couldn’t afford the hospital fee.
PHASE staff consulted with the head office, the rural municipality, and the district health office to charter a helicopter to take the patient to the hospital in Jumla (which is four days on foot but only a few minutes by helicopter). The hospital already had the case information which had been sent by the PHASE team and arranged for an ambulance to pick up the patient. The mother delivered the baby and her condition was good, but the baby boy’s weight was low. He was kept in the intensive care unit for several days. Both mother and baby were discharged from the hospital after 4 days and stayed with family nearby to continue to recover. After 14 days, the mother and her baby walked back to her home—taking four days. The women in Maila are financially very poor and more vulnerable in medical emergencies like this due to the lack of transportation. This case has raised awareness among women about taking care of themselves during pregnancy, the importance of going to the health post for regular check-ups, and deciding to choose a health post for delivery instead of staying at home. As the story of Junkali Rokaya highlights, both problems of health access and low levels of education make families in Nepal particularly vulnerable.
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