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Helping to save lives of mothers and babies in Nepal

Red Crosser Diana Coulter is currently in Nepal, where she is sharing updates on how the Canadian Red Cross is providing aid after the recent earthquakes.
Family members with baby Khusi and nurse Claudia Chavez
L-R: Grandmother Mimai Tamang, father Ram Tamang holding baby Khusi, mother Diki Dolma and nurse Claudia Chavez at the Red Cross field hospital in Dhunche, Nepal.
Rachana Tamang’s grandmother and baby boy
Rachana Tamang’s grandmother and baby boy, who was delivered by emergency c-section in the field hospital.
Outside the maternal and child health tent of the Red Cross field hospital
Ladies are waiting outside the maternal and child health tent of the Red Cross field hospital in Dhunche.
Langtang mountain as seen from the Red Cross field hospital in Dhunche.
A view of Langtang mountain as seen from the Red Cross field hospital in Dhunche.
Children from a small village on the Chinese border
A team of Red Cross aid workers visited Timure, a tiny village near the Chinese border, to do a community health assessment. These are children from the village.

Shortly before her first child was due, Diki Dolma trekked for days across mountain trails devastated by the Nepal earthquakes to reach the Canadian Red Cross field hospital in Dhunche.
With her husband and mother, the 21-year-old woman travelled from her remote village of Gatlang. Landslides destroyed the road that winds from their community, so walking to Dhunche was their only choice, explained Ram Tamang, Dolma’s husband. It was a difficult journey but the family was determined to be near medical care for the baby’s delivery.
“I considered taking her to Kathmandu (about a five-hour drive farther), but we came to know about the Canadian Red Cross hospital in Dhunche, so we stayed here,” explained Tamang, 25, a trekking guide who has climbed Everest many times.
It was a fortunate choice, he added, because not long after their arrival at Dhunche, Dolma went into labour. The family brought Dolma to the Red Cross field hospital, which was set up after the earthquakes irreparably damaged the former facility. At present, a team of Red Cross delegates is providing a range of medical services at the field hospital, which is supporting primary care and offers emergency maternal and surgical care.
So far, more than 1,800 people have been treated at the field hospital for a variety of conditions including acute respiratory infections, diarrhoeal disease, broken bones and skin disease. To date, nine babies have also been delivered at the Canadian Red Cross field hospital.
In Dolma’s case, she laboured for hours before doctors determined that further medical intervention was necessary, said Claudia Chavez, a labour and delivery nurse from Montreal, Quebec.
Philippe Demers, another Canadian Red Cross aid worker and surgeon from Bromont, Quebec, along with obstetrical gynaecologist Erwin Dizon, from the Philippine Red Cross, performed a Caesarean section. Canadian anaesthetist Michel Clairoux also assisted.
Not long after, baby Khusi, which means ‘happy’, was born. Now, Dolma says she also is very happy.
“When I was having trouble, the doctors did this operation and it was feeling easy. I am so happy with this place and people helping me here.”
Smiling shyly at nurse Claudia, she added: “She is very good to me. She is taking care of me just like a mother.”
Sitting across from Dolma at the inpatient tent, another family also expressed gratitude for their baby’s safe delivery. Diminutive 19-year-old Rachana Tamang, arrived at the hospital a day after Dolma. Two weeks past her due date, the young woman was assessed and an emergency C-section immediately performed after it was determined the baby boy was in distress. If the family had travelled farther for help, the lives of both baby and mother would have been jeopardized.
“We will tell all our friends to come here, too,” said Dolma, cradling her baby girl. “This is a nice place.”
The Red Cross field hospital remains in full emergency mode. Every day, more patients are arriving at the Dhunche facility, and Red Cross is reaching more people with humanitarian assistance.
There is also extreme concern about the impact of the upcoming monsoon season when communities will face months of severe rain, flooding and potential landslides. Some remote villages could become completely cut off. Ensuring that people have adequate shelter, clean water, food and health services remains vital.

Canadians are encouraged to donate to the Nepal Region Earthquake Fund. 
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