March 2020

In March 11 babies were enrolled for support in our program (including 3 orphans, 3 sets of triplets, 1 baby with hydrocephalus, and 1 baby whose mother was not producing breast milk). Two sick women were enrolled. Nurses visited 194 babies and 23 sick women after delivery. Nurses distributed 595 tins of formula. (Formula is provided to sustain life. It is for babies without access to breast milk and for mothers of triplets, to supplement their milk.)

Baby Admission Story. The triplets above are Success, Shepherd, and Stella. Even though Maggie attended her prenatal care clinic as recommended, she was unaware that three babies grew and tumbled within her. (Few mothers receive ultrasounds during pregnancy, so multiple births are generally surprises.) On March 14th Maggie delivered a small baby girl. Her tiny daughter was followed by a boy and then by another daughter. The babies are all less than 4.5lbs and will grow best if kept skin-to-skin against the chest of someone who loves them for as many hours per day as possible. Their parents and grandparents will supply the 24*7 care. Nurses from Joyful Motherhood will visit regularly to support, assess, and provide supplemental formula and porridge down the road, if necessary.

Mother Admission Story. Nineteen year old Seba attended prenatal care at a rural clinic near her home during her pregnancy. On March 14th her labor started and she was taken to the hospital. After 24hours without progress she delivered her baby boy by c-section. Three days later, both returned home in stable condition. She expected to feel pain and so she tried not to complain. She kept stoically silent for one week until she could no longer bear the fire in her swelling abdomen. She was taken back to the hospital and then transferred to the regional maternity hospital where a severe infection was diagnosed. Surgeons opened her abdomen and washed her insides with saline, but three days later she had not improved. She was diagnosed with a systemic infection. She was given antibiotics and a blood transfusion and then discharged home still weak and pale. Seba is one of many patients discharged early in an attempt to decongest the wards as Covid starts to take hold in Malawi. Though all healthcare workers are at risk, the care provided by Joyful Motherhood to women like Seba is more critical now than ever.

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