Saving premature babies in Konso: The story of Kele’s baby

Thursday 13 April 2017

During the eight month of her first pregnancy, Kele, 24, gave birth to her new baby girl at the nearby Berebrsa health center in Konso Woreda. The baby was born preterm and weighed 1000gm at birth.

Kele told us she attended all her antenatal checkups at the same health center. A week before she gave birth, the health workers assessed her pregnancy and told her she and the fetus are in good health and asked her to come back when she had labor pains.

Kele says, “A few days after that last check up, I had back pain, abdominal crump and nausea. When the pain persisted, I went to the Berbersa health clinic with the help of my mother, my mother- in-law and my husband.”

After three long and painful hours of labor, Kele gave birth to her new baby girl assisted by the health worker in Berbersa health center. Soon after assessing the baby, the health workers handed over her baby to her and told her to tightly hold the baby on her chest to keep her warm using Kangaroo Mather care techniques because the baby had low birth weight. They also advised her to start breastfeeding. However, at the time her baby was too weak and unable to suckle her breast, and also had difficulty breathing. Soon after assessing her condition, the health workers advised her to go to Karat Hospital for lifesaving care and treatment at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). They also immediately called an ambulance to take her and the baby there.

Upon arrival at the Hospital, the doctor further assessed the situation, and admitted her baby to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and provided treatment. After treatment, the baby’s condition started to improve. The doctor told Kele that it is ok to hold her baby using Kangaroo Mother Care techniques and start breastfeeding. When we met Kele, her baby’s condition had significantly improved and she was able to breastfeed.

With the aim of decreasing neonatal mortality due to premature birth, Save the Children, with the funding support from Fiorentina Football Club and in collaboration with the relevant government bureaus, continues to provide lifesaving skills training to health professionals while also providing necessary medical equipment to local facilities.