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Helping Moms in Egypt: Attyiat and Baby Ahmed
Too many women in Egypt have lost their lives, or the lives of their children, due to miscarriage and birthing injuries. Attyiat was heartbroken after three miscarriages. She lost hope that she would ever carry another baby to full term. A farmer’s wife, prenatal care was simply not available in her village.
In the past, health unit staff did not provide any services for the pregnant women. As a result, I suffered miscarriages,” said Attyiat.
Attyiat's doctor could not determine what caused her miscarriages. With only a farmer’s wages and their other children to support, her family could not afford the expensive travel to the city to visit a specialist.
When she became pregnant again, her joy was mixed with fear that she would suffer the loss of yet another baby.
Dreading another disappointing pregnancy, Attyiat was relieved to find out that she could participate in a new Save the Children program in her village.
"I heard women in the village talk about health services provided to pregnant women at the health units. Hearing that, I decided to go to the health unit hoping that I would have better luck with my forth baby,” she said.
In partnership with the Faculty of Medicine at nearby Assuit University, an emergency obstetrics care training system was developed. Through training 75 doctors, 120 nurses and other health professionals on detection of pregnancy risk signs and safe delivery, the program strengthened the Egyptian Ministry of Health’s referral program.
From education, awareness and nutrition to medical training and increased use of ambulances and emergency interventions, the comprehensive program has been working.
"Save the Children has a successful innovative model for building the capacity of local health unit doctors, which strengthens the continuum of the care referral system,” said Dr. Ezzat Hamed, Head of Gynecology Section, Faculty of Medicine, Assiut University. “This model has improved the quality of the maternal and neonatal health services provided by health units."
Shortly after the program was up and running, miscarriage rates in the community dropped 16% and maternal deaths dropped 18%. The efforts have helped Attyiat and many women like her.
When Attyiat's time to deliver her fourth baby came, she was cautiously optimistic. She was very frightened when the health unit called an ambulance to bring her to the hospital All of her fears were replaced with joy when she safely delivered, Ahmed, a healthy baby boy.
“I was diagnosed carefully and looked after by doctors until I delivered by baby boy safely. I am very thankful for my fortune with baby Ahmed," Attyiat.
For Attyiat, and mothers like her around the world, it takes so little to make such a big difference.
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