Traveling Health Clinics

January 2, 2013 • Vietnam

Midwives trained through Samaritan's Purse provide critical prenatal and postnatal care for women in rural Vietnam

In the middle of a stormy spring night in Lai Chau Province, Vietnam, Asia, 17-year-old Lo Thi Yen began experiencing intense pains in her lower abdomen – the first sign that her baby was on his way into the world.

With an arduous midnight trek to the health clinic out of the question, Yen’s husband immediately called a local midwife to assist with the delivery at their home.

Equipped with invaluable education and tools obtained at a 10-week Samaritan’s Purse training course, traditional birth attendant Lo Thi Lien helped Yen successfully deliver a healthy 3.4 kg boy.

“Mrs. Lien helped me deliver my son safely and both of us are in good health now,” said Yen.

Our partnership with Canadian donors like you and the Lai Chau Department of Health in Vietnam, Asia, is providing training for more than 800 midwives such as Lo Thi Lien throughout the remote and mountainous province. Our goal is that a trained midwife will be within reach of every woman by the end of this year.

Following the initial 10-week training session, quarterly group meetings help keep the trainees’ knowledge fresh and up-to-date.

Expectant mothers like Yen rely on midwives to provide prenatal and postnatal advice, assistance with delivery, and referrals to the health clinic. This is crucial care in a place where 59 per cent of women give birth at home, and the maternal mortality rate is 15 to 20 times higher than in Canada.

“I thank God so much for the poor, ethnic minority highlanders with great hearts like Mrs. Lien…who have been helping their neighbors without expecting any payment,” said our Vietnam, Asia project manager.

Much like the story of the poor but generous widow in Mark 12, “out of her poverty” Yen offered Lien the only payment she could afford: “All I could give her was one kilo of homegrown rice,” said Yen.