Emergency obstetric care saves lives in Mozambique

31 May 2019
A baby girl is born during an emergency Caesarean section delivery. Photograph courtesy of staff at Buzi District Hospital

In the aftermath of the devastating Cyclone Idai, Dr. Elsa Jacinto, an obstetrician and gynecologist, was deployed to the storm-ravaged Buzi District to assist support the provisional health directorate. It was there she encountered a deadly emergency.

A pregnant 14-year-old girl arrived at the Buzi District Hospital with serious obstetric complications. She had gone into labour the day before, but her baby was in a dangerous position. 

Dr. Jacinto, who usually works in UNFPA’s Beira sub-office, recognized that the girl and her baby were both at grave risk, and that a vaginal delivery was not possible. She performed an emergency Caesarean section delivery in a clinical tent, which is managed by Samaritan’s Purse. 

The operation was successful. A healthy baby girl was born, and both mother and daughter are on their way to recovery.

Dr. Jacinto says the experience helping crisis-affected women and girls has been deeply rewarding. “I am able to ensure these young girls and women are able to go back to their families, villages, and camps with their babies, ready to confront their next challenge,” she said. “They are still working to rebuild their lives… the effort [gives] them one less thing to worry about.” 

UNFPA has provided equipment and reproductive health kits to the Buzi District Hospital, with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund.