Activity Updates

September 2018 Activity Report

In September…

  • 9 babies were enrolled. 6 orphans (including a set of triplets), and 3 whose mothers were not producing any breast milk.
  • Nurses visited 139 babies in their homes.
  • Joyful Motherhood is currently following 249 babies
  • 4 women were enrolled, 2 with severe infections, and 2 whose uteruses ruptured and required hysterectomies
  • Nurses visited 25 women and are following 30 women.

Mother Care Admission Story

26-year-old Nazilinga went into labor on September 14th, she had had two previous c-sections, but this time she had a normal delivery. Her daughter weighed just under 4lbs and so Nazilinga and her baby were admitted to the kangaroo ward.  Kangaroo care is a low cost alternative to conventional intensive neonatal care.  Mothers are taught to keep baby wrapped skin-to-skin between their breasts for as many hours of the day as possible and to exclusively breastfeed.  Kangaroo care has been show to improve temperature control, decrease rates of infections and generally improve survival of low birth weight babies. Ten days after her delivery Nazilinga started to have trouble breathing and complained of chest pain.  She was admitted to the critical care unit, there she was told that she had fluid in her lungs and around her heart. She was diagnosed with a severe infection in her blood.  Finally on October 6th she was discharged and able to return to be with her baby.  Our nurses will continue to follow mother and baby at home.

Baby Care Admission Story

24-year-old M. Develias was pregnant with her second baby.  She received regular prenatal care and believed that she knew what awaited her, having experienced a normal pregnancy and delivery two years previously.  In late June she felt that her water was leaking and she went to the clinic.  There she was told by the midwives that all was well, but they admitted her to await her delivery in the health center.  One week later she started bleeding, initially she was just spotting but the volume increased over the following three days.  Finally the midwives decided to transfer her from the health center (there are no operating rooms in health centers) to the district hospital.  Unfortunately she delivered on the way to the hospital and bled to death before arriving.  This story illustrates the tragic fact that even when a woman seeks care in time, she is not guaranteed to receive the care she needs.  Her family was sent home with her body and her newborn.  They managed to provide for baby Chimwemwe until the end of September when they ran out of money for formula.  They sought help at a rural hospital and were eventually referred to Joyful Motherhood.

August 2018 Activity Update

In the month of August, 10 infants and 4 women were enrolled in our programs.

Of the 10 babies, 5 were orphans, the mother of 1 was critically ill in the ICU, the mother of another prematurely stopped producing breast milk, and the remaining 3 were underweight.  Nurses visited 144 babies this month and are currently following a total of 245 babies.  Seventy-five babies are on formula and 230 tins were distributed.

Of the women admitted, one had eclampsia, two had severe infections, and one experienced a ruptured uterus. Twenty-three home visits were made this month to sick women.

Here are a couple stories:

Baby care story: Jean was 19years old and having her first baby.  On July 15th she began to bleed spontaneously.  Luckily she made it to the hospital in time for an emergency C-section.  Her baby boy cried as he was lifted from her body; he was a strong healthy baby weighing 5.5lbs.  Soon after the surgery, mother and baby were deemed stable and transferred to the postpartum ward where they would remain for the next several days.  On July 18th Jean complained of heart palpitations.  In the capital city, in the district hospital, in the ward, Jean died before a nurse responded to her complaint.  Jean’s death tragically illustrates the inadequacy of the health care system.  She may have died from an infection or from internal bleeding or something else.  No one will ever know why she died at 19.  Her son will never again feel her warmth, taste her milk, or hear her voice.  Nurses directed her relative to the office of Joyful Motherhood, located on the same campus as the hospital, and they were admitted to our program.

Mother care story: On 21st August, 2018 Juliet started convulsing.  Staff at the rural hospital where she was, started her on medication to try to stop her seizures then transferred her to the referral hospital in the capital city.  When she arrived her baby was delivered by C-section. The baby took his first breaths but did not cry.  On August 26th her baby died. On August 28th, Juliet was discharged home to her village.

Each of the remaining 12 admissions for the month of August has an equally heart-rending story.  For many, these stories include the death of a baby or a mother.  These tragedies indelibly mark the lives of family members left behind. However, they (the sister or mother of the woman who gave birth) make a conscious decision to continue forward and care of the vulnerable survivor.  They do this at great personal cost. And, thanks to you, those who find their way to Joyful Motherhood are granted the necessary support to multiply their efforts.  Sacrifice + support = hope…. and later joy.

July 2018 Activity Update

  • 17 Babies were admitted in July.  The mothers of 13 of these babies died just after their births.  The mothers of 4 of these babies are not producing any milk, including 1 set of premature twins.
  • Nurses visited 155 babies
  • 70 of the 248 babies currently in our care are receiving formula, 250 tins of formula were distributed.
  • 4 sick women were enrolled this month and 20 women received visits from nurses

July Admission Stories

Anna went into labor with her 4th baby on June 22nd.  After a long day of painful contractions and no progress, she delivered a 9lb4oz baby boy by c-section.  Mom and baby seemed healthy and were discharged home four days later.  On June 26th Anna complained of a headache and started seizing.   She quickly deteriorated and died at home on the same day.  Baby Lyson and his aunt (pictured above) were referred to Joyful Motherhood to receive assistance.

22 year old Oliveta was well throughout her first pregnancy.  The hospital was far from her village home and so, like many Malawian women, when labor started she stayed in her village and delivered her baby girl at home.  Unfortunately she began to bleed after delivering her daughter.  Those with her were unable to stop the bleeding and there was no quick way to transport her to the hospital.  Her life slipped away within minutes making her tiny 4lb daughter an orphan.  Her relatives brought the baby to the health center seeking help and were referred to Joyful Motherhood.

17 year old Mphatso came to the health center on June 6th for her regular prenatal visit.  This was her first pregnancy and she wanted to make sure her baby was growing well.  While at the health center she fell to the floor and started seizing, that same day she was transferred to the referral hospital and a c-section was done.  Her premature baby weighed only 4lbs.  Nine days later she developed a distended abdomen and an exploratory laparotomy found a severe infection. At that time they did a total hysterectomy.  On June 29th her wound was found to be severely infected. Finally on July 12th, still weak and on anti-hypertensive drugs, she was discharged home.

These are a few of the difficult stories from July.  The need is immense but with our combined compassion, hope, and resources we can support these women and families through their most difficult moments and see them through to the other side.

June 2018 Activity Update

  • This month 9 babies were enrolled, all of whom are orphans.
  • Nurses visited 140 babies during this month.
  • A total of 241 enrolled babies are currently enrolled.
  • 300 tins of formula were distributed to infants without access to breastmilk.
  • One well loved 7-month old girl died of malaria.
  • 6 postpartum women were enrolled this month (1 with severe anemia, 2 with eclampsia, and 2 with a history of ruptured uterus and hysterectomy)
  • We are following 28 women.

Lofina Kingsely was enrolled in our program at three months when her mother suddenly stopped producing breast milk.  With the supplemental formula and home visits, Lofina was growing into a healthy toddler.  On May 1st she became violently ill. She was diagnosed with malaria and treated at the local health center.  When there was no improvement in her condition, Lofina was transferred to the district hospital.  Tragically, despite additional treatment, Lofina died from malaria on May 3rd.

Charity Malota was one of our new baby admissions in June.  Charity’s 18-year old mother attended regular prenatal care and went to the hospital when she felt labor pains increase take hold and increase in intensity.  Charity, a small but healthy baby boy was born on 25 February. And after a few days, mother and son were discharged home in good health.  On June 11th Charity’s mother complained of a severe headache and went to lie down.  Providers presumed that Charity had cerebral malaria, within an hour his mother had died.  Relatives who knew about Joyful Motherhood escorted the guardian and baby to our office.  It is our mission to ensure that despite the tragedy this little life continues to grown and thrive.

Annie Yakobo is a 22 year old who was admitted this month. The delivery of her second child was difficult and she ended up with a c-section.  Several days later her abdomen became very swollen and pus started leaking from the incision.  When she was returned to theatre they found her uterus was already necrotic and the clinicians proceeded with a total hysterectomy.  Annie is alive but still very weak, she was discharged home to a very poor environment, and will need to continue to administer to her wound for sometime.  Her baby girl’s life is at risk, simply because her mother is ill.  Joyful Motherhood will be present to help see them through this difficult time.