Local woman off to give maternity care in quake-stricken Nepal

Shelby Bay fundraising for birth keys, maternity ward construction

Shelby Bay

Shelby Bay

A local woman is heading to a devastated area of Nepal, recently ravaged by an earthquake and series of powerful aftershocks, to help dozens of women on the verge of giving birth.

Shelby Bay, from Wasa, is raising funds to put together birthing kits, and in two weeks will be travelling to the Pokhara region of Nepal to help rebuild a maternity ward that was destroyed in the quake, and to offer maternity care.

“There are 79 pregnant women in that area who are due in the next few months,” the 28-year-old registered nurse said. “Right now, they’re relying on a tent, which is being operated by a 19-year-old boy.”

Bay is involved with what she describes as a grassroots, U.S.-based non-governmental organization (NGO), called Global Orphan Prevention, which does work in Nepal. She got connected with this NGO through a friend who she met while trekking in Peru.

Global Orphan Prevention had earlier built a maternity ward in the village of Rautesbi, about 100 kilometres from Kathmandu. After the quake hit, her friend went over to check things out, and found the maternity ward had been levelled.

Bay said that while people in the countrysides are used to “a more rustic approach” when it comes to pregnancy, labour and delivery — a lot of home births, for example, the destruction caused by the quake makes their situation more dire.

“A lot of villages in the region haven’t been serviced since the first quake,” Bay said. “They’re still in survival mode.”

Global Orphan Prevention’s immediate goal is to build a temporary maternity ward to provide a safe birthing environment for the monsoon season, which bodes to be especially severe in the aftermath of the quakes. The ward to then be upgraded to a permanent facility.

Bay’s birthing kits will also be of great help. They are simple and easy to put together, and each contains soap, gloves to prevent blood-borne diseases, pieces of string (two for the umbilical chord and a spare), a razor to cut the umbilical chord, and gauze, all contained in a ziplock bag.

Bay is currently working as a nurse in cardiac surgery in Edmonton, but her medical special interest is in labour, birth and delivery. She also has an especial vocation for international relief and humanitarian work in the Third World. She says one of the reasons she went into nursing was to allow her to follow this passion.

As for the fundraising, 100 per cent of all monies raised will go to the Nepalese initiative — the birthing kits, supplies and the maternity ward construction.

To donate, and to find out more about the initiative, go to: www.youcaring.com/global-orphan-prevention-nepal.