Camp Pregnancy

© Wendy Marijnissen

Yesterday I spent all day in Keamari camp again. From the early morning until late in the afternoon I got a glimpse of what life is like for the midwifes and nurses visiting the camp every day for the past two months and seeing how they work non-stop to attend patients, particularly pregnant women.

UNFPA estimates that in the displaced population affected by the flood around 500.000 of them are pregnant women. Everyday approximately 1700 of them go into labor and over 250 suffer complications during birth.

With families slowly returning back to their villages to rebuild their houses and lives, there are still about 60 to 70 pregnant women in Keamari camp alone. Most women suffer from high blood pressure because of the difficult living conditions in the tents which can become extremely hot during the day. The stress and trauma they have been through, the hard life in the camp trying to take care of their families, struggling to get enough food, water …

© Wendy Marijnissen

I came across Hamida and her family. They come from Shikarpur and have lost everything they owned and worked for in their entire lives. 39 weeks pregnant, she is anxiously awaiting going into labor and giving birth once more. Already with her first delivery she suffered heavy bleeding after birth and nearly died because of the complications. She still though is extremely worried about going into the hospital and possibly having to undergo a c-section.

Already being taken out of their natural environment and having survived a huge trauma during the flood, anything unfamiliar and new, causes extra stress. Upon hearing she might have to go into the hospital and might have to deliver the baby through a c-section, her eyes filled with tears. Another pregnant woman who consulted the midwife had such high blood pressure that she immediately had to go to the nearby hospital for more care. In the end she refused and her brother even signed a paper taking responsibility in case something happens to her. She didn’t want to go with the doctors because her husband wasn’t present in the camp and she couldn’t ask his permission. Also having 3 little children under the age of 5, she didn’t want to leave them behind in the care of her family. The midwife was in a state and tried everything she could to convince her to come with us, but in the end failed, and we drove back to the hospital leaving her behind in the camp, hoping for the best.

I hope to follow Hamida’s story further and above all I hope she will be able to deliver her baby safely. You can see more of my images on the camps in  the ‘Pakistan floods’ gallery on my website.  Photographs of Hamida and her family will be online later in a separate gallery in the coming weeks.

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