Indonesia’s rates of maternal and newborn deaths are alarmingly high - among the highest in Asia. More than 17,000 women die every year due to pregnancy-related causes, and there are more than 90,000 deaths of newborns in Indonesia. Project HOPE has been implementing the Saving Lives at Birth project in Serang, a part of Banten Province, Indonesia, since 2012 with excellent results. For example, exclusive breastfeeding from 0-6 months among mothers in this province increased from 28 percent to 58 percent since the start of the project. Due to this success and other successes, Saving Lives at Birth has been renewed for three more years and is expanding to reach more women and children in need. Here is just one example of how this program is saving so many lives.
My name is Mrs. Sarsimah, and I am 39 years old. I live in Tanara and I just gave birth to my sixth child on May 21, 2015. On the day of this birth, I woke up at 3 a.m. very nauseous. I asked my husband to call the traditional birth attendant (TBA) because I didn’t have money to pay for a midwife’s childbirth services at the health center. The midwife had told me during prenatal care I had high blood pressure and to come to the health center for delivery, but I hadn’t signed up for the free national health insurance card so I didn’t try to go there for childbirth. I decided to give birth at home with a TBA.
After the TBA arrived, she asked me to push the baby out, but every time I got dizzy and didn’t have strength. Two hours later, I was still trying, but the baby wouldn’t come out. I became afraid and finally asked for the midwife to come. Fifteen minutes later she arrived to examine me, and was shocked at how high my blood pressure was (180/100). She brought me to the health center and treated me for the high blood pressure. She asked my husband and me for permission to use a vacuum method to help pull the baby out. A few minutes later, with the midwife asking me to push a little while she used the vacuum, the baby came out, perfectly healthy.
I am so grateful for the help of my midwife (who was trained by Project HOPE to do vacuum extraction), and I’m sorry I didn’t listen to her advice to plan to give birth at the health center from the start.
The Saving Lives at Birth project is funded by Johnson & Johnson.
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