19 May 2015
Scenes from the maternity ward at a public hospital in post-earthquake Nepal.
“It’s the most joyous minutes for me; to hold the baby in my arms and feed them some 4 or 5 ml of glucose. That calms them down,” says senior nurse Maria Gurung, who also works as an anesthesiologist at the Patan Hospital in Laliltpur. Every inch on the ground floor inside the Nick Simon ward of the hospital is occupied by mothers holding their new-born children.
Despite the continual aftershocks since the 25 April earthquake, maternity wards in major public hospitals in the cities have been operational. According to the Disaster Emergency Committee, a collective of charities in the UK, over 14,000 women from earthquake-affected areas are expected to give birth.
Prashant Shrestha, a gynecologist at Patan Hospital says, “We have a support team of two medical officers and a resident doctor, three doctors on call, and two interns who are helping us out here.” Along with two other doctors, Shrestha has been attending to 50 women at the hospital. “Since the last big tremor on the afternoon of 12th [May], we had to pitch three tents: one for the operation theatre and one for the OPD. On the 12th there were eleven caesarian operations performed outside in the tents: seven girls and four boys were born. We had one mother from Lele village, Anandbhan, who fell down when the earth shook and was rushed here. We had to operate on her immediately, performing a caesarian and she required two units of blood to be transfused. Both the mother and child are healthy and happy.”
~Rudra Rakshit is a freelance photographer and writer based in Bangalore.