Ruby welcomes her first child in a shelter

Thursday 30 October 2014

Ruby with her new born son

Nine months into her pregnancy, Ruby had no way of knowing she would be welcoming her baby in a shelter. Devastating floods of 14th August swept through her village in minutes and she and her family were forced to leave home to save themselves.

Ruby recalls, “When the flood water rose, my brother-in-law helped me walk to a machan in the jungle.”  Ruby’s husband is away working in a nearby market so her mother-in-law and sister-in-law take care of her.  When the water level receded, the family took shelter in a school where 8 families from her village are taking shelter. During the time of visit, 60 people from eight families were living in the shelter.

Ruby’s due date was on 4th September but the baby arrived two weeks early on 19th August, a week into their stay in the shelter. The family was able to rush her to the health post an hour away. She gave birth to a healthy baby boy, weighing 3.1 Kg. She came back to live in the shelter after giving birth.

Pregnant women have specific needs and new mothers have their own share of unique concerns. The little food aid they have is not enough to last them long so the family has resorted to cooking the wet grain they were able to dry in the sun. Ruby’s sister in law showed us the dried rice grain, which had discoloured. The family has been taking few sacks of grain out to dry in the sun everyday. She says, “The rice turns grey when we cook. It doesn’t taste good. We cooked an instant noodles for her yesterday. She is not getting enough food.”  She is concerned that Ruby is unable to produce enough milk because they have not been able to look after the new mother like they would have if they had a home before the floods arrived. Ruby says, “I try breastfeeding as much as I can.” Her mother has come to stay in the shelter during the day to look after Ruby. She brought some condiments to make soup that is believed to help post partum mothers produce milk.

Her mother says, “We do not have much at home ourselves but we are doing as much as we can.” Her mother-in-law also regretfully informs that she is not happy with what Ruby is getting to eat. For the family, the new-born baby who is named Aayush is more special as Ruby lost her first baby who was born premature a year ago.

Save the Children supported people living in the shelter with general NFRI kits that consisted of shelter, kitchen utensils, bed nets and hygiene kit.

Save the Children’s health program coordinator for the region Rabi Mohan Bhandari says, “When children go without balanced meal for a prolonged time, specially during humanitarian crisis like the one we see in Bardiya, it is likely to lead to acute malnutrition.”

Along with District Health Office, Save the Children is delivering super cereal to pregnant mothers and children and children under the age of 2 in Badiya, Surkhet and Banke in order to improve their nutritional status.