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Mother And Newborns In Peril – Angola 2015



“I’m in labor, and the umbilical cord just fell out.” Utterly frightened, the mother Gilhermina approached the home of Donna Foster on a ranch here in rural Angola. Within moments, Donna and teenage daughter Meghan, loaded Gilhermina in their truck and began the 110 mile drive to us at the Evangelical Medical Center of Lubango. Once in range, I received her slightly distraught phone call. “Put your hand on the baby’s head and push upwards, “I advised. “This can relieve compression on the cord and increase blood flow to baby.”


Pregnant women like Gilhermina and their newborns are particularly vulnerable . The hours of labor, delivery, first breaths, and transition to exterior life hold a minefield of potential complications. Provision of at least a basic level of skilled care is lifesaving. With this objective in focus, INMED just added new Maternal-Newborn Health content to our International Medicine & Public Health Hybrid Course.


Despite Donna and Meghan’s heroic actions, Gilhermina’s child suffocated before arrival. And around the globe such save-able birth complications occur thousands of times each day. My dear hope is that armed with essential mother-newborn skills, even the most humble healthcare personnel will be more immediately available to preserve these vulnerable lives.

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