Story, as told by a grateful mother

“My name is Srey Mom.  I have 8 children and was 9 months pregnant with my 9th child. My husband was away in the forest working and, one night at about 10pm I started getting labour pains. I woke my eldest child to go call Traditional Birth Attendant(TBA) called Yong. Two of them came together as it was very dark that night, no moon or stars to light our way.

By the time TBA Yong arrived on her bicycle, I wanted to push and my 9thchild came with a rush! He was fine but then TBA Yong said the placenta was stuck. She tried everything, including letting my new son suckle but to no avail. She said I needed to go to the hospital but I told her I had no money to travel and couldn’t leave all my other children alone.

TBA Yong said we could call our grandmother to come watch the children and that there is an NGO that will pay for travel to the hospital and help with food whilst in the hospital but we must go quickly.

It was a difficult journey by oxcart to the river, then a 20min boat ride across the Mekong river to the main town of Stung Treng and then a motorbike ride from the boat to the hospital but we made it.   The doctor had to do a hysterectomy as the placenta was completely stuck. He told me that if he hadn’t operated in time I would have died.

I am very grateful to YWAM for providing travel money for us to get to the hospital and for TBA Yong taking me there in time to save my life.  I am grateful that she knew about the risks of a retained placenta and that I am alive to continue to care for my children.  Thank you very much YWAM for training TBAs and helping us poor women to get the services we need.”

Since 1992, YWAM has trained midwives and over 500 Traditional Birth Attendants( TBAs). YWAM continues to support the TBA’s ,now called Mother ChildHealth Agents(MCHAs) to do antenatal care, accompany women to deliver at the health centres or hospital, and then care for women at home following delivery.  YWAM also supports provincial midwife trainers to supervise or hold meetings with the MCHA’s every 3 months.

So as to reduce maternal mortality even further, YWAM did a small survey to determine the number of illegal abortions that were not reported in the health department statistics. The results of this showed that of the two medical personnel interviewed, each do at least one, sometimes two or three abortions per day. Many abortions take place in villages by women themselves as well as done by other health personnel in their private clinics.In 2012, YWAM to started a pregnancy crisis counselling programme called Cool Refuge. In these last 4 years all women counselled have kept their babies.

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