BOTTOMS FOR BABIES
Twenty-five mini layettes (100 diapers made from recycled tee-shirts, 25 receiving blankets, 50 pins) made and assembled with love by the women of St. Peter Lutheran Church Oxbow, Saskatchewan were delivered to the Hospital Aquilino Tejeira, in the city of Penenome, Panama on April 1, 2016. Our contact person, Helen Pierson, a Canadian ex-pat resident of Coronado, Panama, arranged for the delivery of the donations.
Before the process began Helen was advised that each mini layette contained a Bible verse written in Spanish. She told us this was very acceptable and was in fact encouraged. The crucifix is prominently displayed throughout the hospital. All donations are carefully recorded and will be given by requisition to those in the direst need. There are 400 babies born at this hospital each month, 20% of the babies will be born into abject poverty. Infant mortality rate is approximately 20.8 deaths per 1000 live births. Canada’s infant mortality rate is less than 5%.
Helen did the necessary paper work, accompanied us to the hospital and was with us, my daughter-in-law Sherry and me, as we toured the facility and visited the maternity wards. The hospital reminded me of the hospitals built in rural Saskatchewan in the 1960’s and was equipped with some modern equipment, including an ultra sound machine.
We were able to meet with the moms and babies and the staff who cared for them. Had there been a delivery in progress we would have been able to attend after putting on the required dress! Three days is the average hospital stay following delivery. We were also able to visit the moms who had c-sections. Two of these moms were each given one of our mini layettes. The moms stay in the hospital for five post-delivery days and are not required to care for their babies all the time. The maternity wards were simple and met the basic needs of the women and babies. Teaching posters are there for those who need first time instruction re breast feeding and baby care as well information for female hygiene and post-delivery care for the moms. The staff was delighted to show us around and eager to answer our questions.
All in all it was an experience to remember! I give thanks to our loving Heavenly Father for giving us the opportunity to share our local abundance with others! Thanks to thanks to those who sewed with a passion for Christian Mission!
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