Half the Sky- Ch. 7: Saving a Family: Make a Difference



Half the SkyI read chapter 7 of Half the Sky. This chapter focused on mortality rates in child labor, with two stories from Africa.

The first story was about a woman named Prudence from Cameroon. In labor, Prudence’s cervix was blocked and the birth attendant sat and jumped on her stomach. This ruptured her uterus, which is a very dangerous situation for child birth. She was brought to the hospital where she was under the “care” of Dr. Pascal Pipi. Prudence required surgery since the fetus had died and was remaining in her ruptured uterus, however her family did not have enough money for the operation but begged for him to proceed. This angered him and therefore he made Prudence wait for the surgery, after already waiting for 3 days.Cameroon Prudence did not last more than 3 days after the surgery, which was long overdue and left her in a coma, until she passed.

Issues surrounding this situation were numerous. The first was the lack of education of not only Prudence and her family, but the birth attendant as well. One should never sit or jump on a pregnant woman’s stomach. A uterine rupture is extremely dangerous for the mother and child. Luckily for Prudence there was a hospital available, but for many women in third world countries around the world, there isn’t. The lack of wealth lead them to the difficult situation of not being able to afford the surgery. Further, the lack of respect the health care providers had showed not only Prudence but her family became detrimental to her prognosis. They showed no urgency or concern for her life and well-being, their only concern was of the money.

Wheelchair at Edna's hospital

Wheelchair at Edna’s hospital

Much could have been done to prevent Prudence and her fetus’s death. Had there been a more knowledgeable person at her home during the labor to prevent the rupturing of her uterus or who had brought her to the hospital in the first place Prudence and her child may have survived. With more education available to people there would be more job opportunity and survival opportunity as well.

There are many organizations out there who are attempting to provide more opportunities and help to women. The World Health Organization, UNICEF, and other foreign foundations working to improve these situations. I know I myself would love to bring some help, as a nursing student, to South Africa which suffers from similar situations as well. I really hope to make even a small difference while I am there through providing women’s health education pamphlets. I would love to do more, but it takes small steps to make a big difference.

Edna Half the Sky

The other story in this chapter was of a woman named Edna in Somaliland, who was the first Somali girl to study in Britain, the first nurse-midwife, and was an example of one woman who eventually made a big Somalilandimpact. Her ultimate goal in life was to lower the maternal mortality rates in her country, and to do that she wanted to build a maternity hospital. It took her whole life’s savings in addition to help from numerous Westerners to finally accomplish this goal. Since the building of the hospital many women’s lives, as well as babies lives, have been saved.

Edna’s story is very motivational. There are many things one can do to make a difference, and Edna is one of those people that took action to do so. I feel motivated to make a difference- it is just a matter of doing so.

There is a solution to this problem, but it will take time. More education is needed for women, not only for their own benefit, but for those who may want to pursue a potential career in health care. More health care providers are needed to save lives.

Edna's Maternity Hospital

Edna’s Maternity Hospital

One way YOU can help is to donate! Our class is working hard to raise money to bring better lifestyles to the children and families of South Africa. Our service projects are geared towards bringing better health (through the vegetable gardens) and enhancing education (through updating the Vaatjie school library). If we are able to raise extra funds I would love to be able to purchase simple medical supplies for first aid kits for the villages.


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