Post by Ann Marie
What a day!!!
Today Mai was back at the Cape Coast Teaching Hospital to volunteer which she describes as more of a very low-level clinic and not at all like a US hospital. She keeps explaining it as "not a real hospital" and you need to see to understand. Fortunately, Mai is taking a ton of photos so when she gets back she will post all of these for us to see. We have had a problem with data this whole time Mai has been in Ghana so sending pictures in almost impossible other than the few she already sent. We are able to communicate via text and phone calls but no data.
The hospital is the same location she delivered the donated pediatric blood pressure cuffs, masks, gloves, gauze, bandages and other items. Last week, Mai and the team, were a bit disappointed because they were ready to help but there were not many patients in the hospital that day. The few kids she worked with weren't used to seeing Caucasians and they were scared of her. This was a bit surprising to Mai but at the same time realizes that this made sense. The area Mai is in is not exactly a tourist area with great things to do and see and that's exactly why she is there to volunteer and bring the donated medical supplies.
Today Mai was able to volunteer in the birthing area of the hospital which was much more interesting than the area she volunteered in last week. Her morning started off entering the birthing room within a minute of the delivery of a stillborn baby. The mother had not even delivered the placenta yet. It was the first time she had ever seen a dead body much less it being an infant at a moment that was supposed to joyous. I asked Mai how the mother was handling it and she said that the woman seemed discouraged and was quiet.
As an FYI, the infant mortality rate in Ghana is 36 deaths per thousand compared to five deaths in the United States. This is a direct reflection of health care in Ghana and how it is lacking in both quantity and quality. Mai made a point again that this is why she started the Hearts for Hearts Foundation and is already planning what more she can do to help.
After a while, there was another pregnant woman that came to give birth and Mai was able to watch and help during the process. She said it was one of the most amazing things she has ever seen and was extremely excited to have been able to witness it much less be a small part of it. Mai said it was very emotional and would tear up while trying not to cry. Truly an amazing experience in every way for the girls to be part of. They were even able to be there while the mother was getting stitched up..
I asked Mai whether the mother was given anything for pain and she said no, nothing at all. Even for the stitching, there was no anesthetic or anything to make it more comfortable for the mother. She said the mother made a little bit of noise due to pain during labor and for the stitching, there were a couple of yelps from pain but not much.
This is clearly a little bit different experience than the luxuries we have here during child birth process here.
Next Mai, and her teammate Aubrey were able to wash a baby and dressed it in simple little clothes. Once the baby was cleaned and ready, they delivered it back to the mother to hold.
Altogether an amazing day.