By Angela Hill
A tiny baby, wrapped tightly in blankets, his face just peeking out, sleeps tucked up against his resting mother, under the watchful eye of his grandmother.A tiny baby, wrapped tightly in blankets, his face just peeking out, sleeps tucked up against his resting mother, under the watchful eye of his grandmother.

It’s a scene that plays out all over the world, but in the Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh on Nov. 25 this story nearly had a different ending.

Sakena Khatun realized there was something wrong. Her daughter, Fatima, was struggling to give birth in their makeshift shelter in Kutupalong camp in Bangladesh.

Through a translator, she said she remembered her neighbours saying that foreigners had set up a clinic nearby. She ran in the heat and midday sun to find it.

“We had a midwife and a nurse that went down to the tent where this woman was in labour, thinking they would just be able to do nice delivery,” said Patrice Gordon, team lead for the mobile medical team.

Sakena Khatun realized there was something wrong when her daughter, Fatima, was struggling to give birth in their makeshift shelter in Kutupalong camp in BangladeshThe health workers “tried their best, but they couldn’t deliver the baby,” Sakena said.

“It was a situation where the baby was positioned in such a way, where she was not going to deliver without some kind of significant assistance,” Patrice said.

The clinic was an hour walk away from the Red Cross/Red Crescent Field Hospital over treacherous terrain, up and down steep hills and over slippery bamboo bridges. The mobile clinic’s ambulances, young men who are strong and know their way through the mazes of the camp, headed to find the family. They arrived with a sling that with the use of long bamboo poles turns into a stretcher. Fatima, who was in labour, was carefully transferred to the stretcher and was carried out by these men. Her mother stayed close behind.

Sakena said when they arrived at the hospital, doctors and nurses gave her daughter medications and 10 minutes later the baby was born.

“I’m thankful to God that the hospital was there, and for the mobile clinic, they saved my daughter. Otherwise my daughter and her baby would’ve died. I’m so thankful that [they] delivered the baby,” she said, through the translator.

This case had a lasting impression on the entire team.

“If you look at it through that lens, everything that we came here to do is wrapped up in that situation. We saved one precious little baby’s life. We did all kinds of other things, but that was just something really concrete,” said Patrice, after visiting the mom and new babe. “This baby would not have survived if our clinic had not been there.”

The intersectoral working group on health in Cox’s Bazar says they estimate 15,480 babies will be born in the camps from January to March. It is estimated that there are more than 55,000 pregnant women that have crossed the border while fleeing violence in Myanmar – almost 67 per cent will have no access to gynaecological and obstetrical care.

Sakena and Fatima are among the thousands of women who face an uncertain future, but they don’t let that slow them down, they care for each other. They are resilient. These are the Faces of Humanity.