Have a heart! [Archives:2005/837/Viewpoint]

April 28 2005

Reproductive health has been an issue of great importance of late especially in developing countries where alarming rates of maternity whether mother or child is projected. Nevertheless, when a mother or child survives then people think the danger is over, and the medical practitioners in a round of applause smile at the new born baby witnessing the miracle of life happen again. Most of the medical staff in Yemen ignore the precautionary measures they were “supposedly” taught in their medical colleges about the standard checks of new born babies to see is the baby is fine. Checking the weight, pressure, pulse, blood tests and many other tests are simply ignored. As a consequence of which, there are many cases of disabled children in Yemen who suffer today because of the lack of attention once they were born into this world, perhaps a sign of how welcoming this world is to them.

Many cases of maltreatment of mothers by nurses and midwives in hospitals have been reported. Harsh words, neglect and even physical beating and slaps as if all the woman in labor needed was another source of pain. As for the poor child, it is wrapped and put near his mom who is sent home not knowing what the future has in store of her baby, discovering a few weeks later that the child doesn't breathe well, isn't moving at all or is suffering from a disability that would last with the family for the remaining of the unfortunate child's life.

Why is this the case? Medicine is one the most noble and human disciplines on earth how come people working in this field have become so ugly and cold hearted? In Yemen such cases unfortunately are not the exception, they are becoming the standard. If this is the situation then why is it surprising to find women hesitating before turning to hospitals for delivery instead of staying at home where at least there is emotional comfort and care. I am not saying that women should quit going to hospitals I am saying that they should be very careful and aware. You will read in this issue about a woman whose son has become paralyzed because of a prolonged obstructed labor. Whose fault was it, I can't tell but honestly I do blame the medical system in that hospital. However, I have learnt that women in Yemen should become stronger and more aware. They should be able to realize what their rights are and how to demand for them. And as for the medical staff working in reproductive health all I can say is please: have a heart!