Ghana: Village Midwife

Olivia lifts a newborn onto a scale.

Olivia lifts a newborn onto a scale.

 

Olivia cleans a newborn by the early dawn light and a small lantern just seconds after birth.

Olivia cleans a newborn, just seconds after birth, with only the light from a small lantern and the predawn light.

 

Newborn wrapped burrito style.

Newborn wrapped burrito style.

 

Olivia instructs a new nurse in her crowded waiting room.

Olivia instructs a new nurse in her crowded waiting room.

 

Olivia outside the clinic in Kumdi, Ghana.

Olivia outside the clinic in Kumdi, Ghana.

It is 105 degrees outside and only a little cooler inside the delivery room of the rural clinic in remote Ghana. Lit by window light only, Olivia lifts the little baby boy with only one hand, like she was lifting a bunch of bananas, onto the white metal scale. The child, only a few minutes out of the womb, lets go a healthy cry as his skin contacts the cold metal. A moment later, Olivia gently wraps the baby, burrito style, in a clean blanket and his crying immediately stops, the newborn once again feeling warm, cocooned and safe.

Olivia has delivered over 1600 babies in the last ten years in the sparsely equipped clinic that has no electricity or water, but that is still considered an oasis for the women seeking her help for their deliveries. Without this clinic, the closest medical assistance would be 30 miles away, along a potholed, dusty, dirt road.

“Since I came here I have never lost a baby. I know God has helped me a lot,” says Olivia. “I enjoy working with the poor in the villages because I want to save lives. The challenges are so many. We have bad roads. We don’t have lights.” But she adds, “My passion is delivering babies and taking care of pregnant women. I become happy when I deliver a baby safely, without losing the child.”

Call to Action: Olivia ends with a request, “My brothers and sisters, support the Kumdi Clinic because the clinic saves the lives of pregnant women…it gives hope..”Contribute via Ghana Christian Mission

All photographs ©Copyright Gary S. Chapman

Technical:

(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @48mm, 1/250 sec, f2.8, ISO 5000)

(Nikon D4, 35mm f1.4 @ 1/100 sec, f1.4, ISO 3200)

(Nikon D4, 35mm f1.4 @ 1/80 sec, f1.4, ISO 3200

(Nikon D4, 35mm f1.4 @ 1/80 sec, f2, ISO 1000

(Nikon D4, 24-70mm f2.8 @52mm, 1/400 sec, f4.5, ISO 200)