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Posts Tagged ‘Personal Health Records’

My PHR Story

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

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Many of the people I have encountered over the years have wondered aloud why I turned my focus to maternal, newborn and child survival. I have had to wander down memory lane to find the most accurate answer.

While I was in hospital with my tiny daughter, praying for her survival and educating myself about how to care for premature babies, I had plenty of time for sober reflection and exploration; plenty of time to THINK. During that period, two events shaped my thoughts, my actions, and my future commitments.
A few days after my own delivery, another premature baby was born; not in that hospital, but as an emergency home birth to a family that lived right there in Obalende. That baby was rushed to the nearest hospital, which happened to be the one I was in and care was willingly provided. The parents were warned however that the care would come at a price—one which the family could not afford. With the help of my husband, I did what I could to assist, and the baby survived. At that time, the issues seemed simple: a small matter of financial sufficiency.
The second event took place a few weeks later when, thankfully, my baby had started to thrive. Another premature baby was born at the hospital but this time, to a very wealthy family. The hospital provided care again, willingly, and money was no object. However, this baby’s health did not improve and the doctors were dissatisfied with its growth. Of course everyone was praying. Finally one of the doctors approached me to ask: “Where did you buy the formula that we were using to feed your baby along with expressed breast milk? Because we think it will help the baby and so we have shown this family the formula, but they have scoured the city looking for it but cannot find any!”
I answered honestly, “I did not buy it. A medical connection abroad recommended it, prescribed it, and sent it to me by courier. I don’t think that one can buy it because the bottles were marked ‘For hospital use only’ but I can ask my contact.”
I had a box or two left over and gladly handed them over to the doctors to give to the baby that needed it.
Pondering on my experience with these two babies, I suddenly realized that knowledge, resources and networking had to go hand in hand to give fragile babies a decent chance of survival.
Mortality is no respecter of social status or wealth or any other man-made index. Universal access to medical advances, proper care in a well-equipped medical facility and ability to give an accurate health history are some of the most important factors in establishing a continuum of care to give women and children the best chance of life.
Humility is important as well. Too many of our medical facilities at home provide the most appropriate treatment out of necessity, and not necessarily the most appropriate treatment indicated! In order to save lives, we need the humility and wisdom to recognize when we cannot adequately treat a case. We must then initiate or request a prompt referral based on our knowledge of whom or what is best equipped for that case. Sometimes this referral may even be within the same medical facility—and I have witnessed this on countless occasions—but a fair degree of knowledge and humility is often required to initiate the process.
I apologize in advance to those who may be offended by my humbly offered opinions but this has been my personal experience, and it forms the bedrock of the work of the Wellbeing Foundation as well as my continued personal commitment to minimizing preventable mortality; particularly in trying to raise the standards of universal access to basic medical provision and lifesaving advances through the development of the Integrated Maternal Newborn and Child Health Personal Health Records.

Best wishes

Think + Do = Positive Development

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