Last Day Of CARE's Learning Tour
If you want to meet a rock start obstetrician/gynecologist (ob/gyn) in Ethiopia, you must visit Dil Chora Hospital in Hades where Dr. Munir Kassa saves pregnant women and their newborns on a daily basis. Dil Chora Hospital serves the West Hararghe region and has three ob/gyns on staff. Dr. Munir is often the last hope for rural women facing prolonged labor and pregnancy complications. He performed 14 cesareans last week. One woman had a ruptured uterus and tragically lost the baby. He saved her life.
Learning Tour delegation at a CARE-supported clinic. Photo: 2010 Evelyn Hockstein/CARE
In addition to tenderly caring for new moms and their babies, he”s a passionate advocate for maternal health. He partners with religious leaders and uses local radio to raise awareness about Ethiopia”s “No Mother Should Die’ campaign. Getting the word out to rural women and encouraging them to have a skilled birth attendant at time of delivery is a challenge he”s meeting face on.
As the delegation toured the maternity ward, I was fortunate to observe the tail end of a c-section and the birth of a perfect, tiny baby boy. This young woman’”and her baby’”were among the lucky ones.
Another pregnant woman wasn”t so fortunate. She had fallen down in her village and by the time she got to the hospital, she had lost the baby. I was overcome with grief. And she was sharing a room with two new mothers and their suckling babies. I thought to myself, how is she enduring this? Tragedy and sadness on one side of the room; joy and happiness on the other.
Our flight back to Addis was bumpy to say the least. We landed amid torrential rains and got soaked running into the terminal. But as fast as the skies open up in Ethiopia, the clouds clear and the sun shines through.
I feel hopeful that progress is happening here. Sure, Ethiopia needs more Dr. Munirs but change takes time. With the right government support and working in partnership with NGOs and local advocates, Ethiopia is reducing maternal deaths and marching toward the MDG 5 goal line.