Alwar, India—A Jhpiego-promoted checklist on childbirth helped save the life of Mamta Rajput.
When the 20-year-old mother arrived at Zanana Hospital in Alwar, India, 25 miles from her village home, she had strong labor pains and complained of a pounding headache. Babita Sen, the labor and delivery nurse on duty, was just ending her shift. But she immediately turned her attention to Mamta.
Babita examined Mamta and noted that her blood pressure was high. Suspecting a pregnancy-related disorder that can threaten mother and baby, the nurse tested Mamta’s urine for protein, just one of several steps on the patient checklist attached to her chart. As Babita suspected, Mamta had a high level of protein, a symptom of pre-eclampsia.
The nurse rushed to find the doctor on duty and explained her patient’s symptoms. The doctor ordered Babita to administer an injection of magnesium sulfate, the prescribed treatment.
Babita and the hospital’s nursing staff had recently been trained by Jhpiego on the use of the Safe Childbirth Checklist. The simple, 29-item list helps health workers to manage labor and delivery and possible complications that could arise. Babita’s efficient response helped stabilize Mamta’s blood pressure and prevented her condition from worsening to eclampsia, which can be fatal to the mother and baby. The checklist was developed by the World Health Organization and adapted for use in India by Jhpiego, one of Jhpiego’s many innovative practices to help reduce the deaths of mothers and newborns.
Thousands of women and children in India die or suffer debilitating complications because simple yet essential practices are not performed at the time of birth. A majority of these complications and deaths can be prevented by defining and implementing a set of minimum standards for childbirth that are practical, effective and universally applicable.
“We didn’t always take the temperature and measure the blood pressure of a client when they came to our facility. It was just not a part of our regular practice,” Babita, the nurse at Zanana, says candidly, adding, “At the Zanana Hospital, there is a huge rush of clients, and we would often overlook many of these steps.”
Later that July day, with Babita monitoring her progress, Mamta gave birth to a healthy baby girl, one of the 12,000 births that take place there annually. Mamta’s family says they will never forget the quality of care Babita provided to their daughter when she most needed it. Mamta’s mother-in-law praised Babita, stating,“She saved my daughter-in-law and the baby. May God bless her.”
Jhpiego has been working in collaboration with the Government of Rajasthan to institutionalize the use of the Safe Childbirth Checklist at selected facilities across seven districts, including Alwar. As a result, the Zanana Hospital now requires that the checklist be used as an integral part of the patient care system. It is attached to every client’s case sheet from the time of admission and doesn’t leave the patient’s side until the time of discharge.
Babita and her colleagues were pleased to receive the Safe Childbirth Checklist and update their knowledge on best practices in managing labor and delivery. They feel more confident now to identify complications and to treat patients in need correctly.
“The checklist helps us in remembering and noting down essential readings, check for important symptoms and perform essential actions before, during and after a delivery,” says Babita. “So, now we don’t miss anything because all the important points are on that checklist.”