This is a photo of my grandsons. One born this past December, full term, weighing in at 7lb. 11oz. The little guy below was born in February of 2008, weighing only 1lb. 9oz.
I am thankful to say that both boys are happy and very healthy today.
In December, I was thrilled to be with my daughter in the delivery room when my grandson was born. Those memories initiated my thoughts about the experience of pregnancy and deliveries in the United States vs. neonatal care and birthing in Bolivia.
The World Health Organization provides stastistics about health care for mothers and infants around the world.
The following are comparisons between the U.S. and Bolivia:
- 66% of women in Bolivian cities and 50% in rural areas have a skilled professional attend the delivery of their babies vs. 99% of U.S. women.
- 55% of Bolivian women give birth at home.
- Maternal mortality rate is .29% in Bolivia vs. .o1% in the U.S. (Maternal mortality is defined as – the death of a woman while pregnant or within 42 days of the end of a pregnancy, irregardless of the duration or cause of the pregnancies end.)
- The lifetime risk of dying while giving birth is 1 in 150 in Bolivia vs. 1 in 2100 in the U.S.
- Infant mortality in Bolivia is 42.3 per 1000 births vs. 6 per 1,000 in the U.S.
- In Bolivia 1 in 4 infants will not receive post delivery medical care.
- The mortality rate for children under the age of five in Bolivia is 54 in 1000 live births vs. 8 in 1000 in the U.S.
Make every mother and child count. ~WHO 2005
Can you imagine being nine months pregnant and having to walk three or more hours to the nearest hospital if you needed medical care?
Can you imagine your fear as a new mom . . .
- If you couldn’t feed your children?
- If you didn’t have any way to get clean water?
- If you couldn’t keep your family healthy because of unsanitary conditions?
We learned last week that this is the way of life in many of the rural communities in Bolivia.
Then we met Ivan and Eva.
Ivan, 27, and Eva 19, live in Viloma, where World Vision has been working with families for 13 years.
So, when their little boy was born weighing a little less than 3 pounds, Eva was able to deliver him in a hospital where he received care for six weeks until he was able to go home.
I’ve tried to compare their NICU experience to that of our grandson and it has been impossible for me to do so without seeing their hospitals firsthand. I have imagined that their fears and concerns were much the same as our children as their love for their little boy was apparent.
As part of their story Ivan said, “God has shown me that my son is a miracle.”
I understood the emotion behind his words. Our family has also known God’s miraculous touch in the life of a child.
Ivan and Eva participate in Marriage Mentoring Couples Workshops where they meet with others to learn about how to treat each other with love and respect. Ivan shared with us that because of the life of his son he wants to be the best husband and father possible.
Witnessing first-hand the work of World Vision
Through maternal and child health care, clean water and sanitation programs, training for the provision of healthy foods and nutrition, mentoring, and education . . . World Vision is lifting communities from scarcity to self-sufficiency and hope.
For just $35 a month:
- You can change the life of a child.
- You can improve the life of a family.
- You can provide hope to a community.
Sponsor a child in Bolivia today. Please.
Since the Bolivia Bloggers have returned home we have each allowed the tears to flow. For one of us weeping came suddenly in the cereal aisle of the grocery store. For another the bins of available fresh fruits and vegetables made her cry.
We are each feeling the heavy weight of seeing and knowing the needs of those whose lives crossed paths with ours last week.
This week we are unable to ignore the opportunity we have to share with those whose lives can be changed with the help of individuals like you and me.