Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Born Into the Light

Many issues covered by the US media seem trivial - a fixation with car chases, murders, or celebrity-based scandals, as opposed to serious coverage of major world events. But one story about a small group of people struck a deep chord, even if it was not a critical analysis of global economic, political or environmental issues.

Midwives in the Cameroon countryside do not have electricity. As babies don't plan their entrance during daylight alone, those born at night come into the world by the glow of the midwife's cellphone. She works 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but many women in her area die in childbirth because of zero health care tools such as light, sterilized equipment, running water - let alone an operating room for the emergency caesarian section.

An obstetrician from the United States traveled in the area and became aware of the plight of pregnant women in labor. Her husband, an inventor, designed a yellow plastic box that not only contains some basic equipment but also functions as a solar panel. With this boon with that arrives with the dimensions of an over-sized briefcase, the midwife and her compatriots in other poverty-stricken rural areas now have the most basic necessity: light so that they can see the precious cargo they are steering into the dawn of life.

Any mother who has given birth can relate to this precarious passage, during which time the intense suffering of the mother and the potential for fatal mishaps can kill both woman and child.

This magic yellow box is being reproduced as quickly as time and money will allow; at this juncture a few thousand have been donated throughout the region.

This simple and elegant design has made the difference between an agonizing death and a joyous event. And just one compassionate doctor and her science-prone husband made this difference.

Human beings can be so creative, kind and effective. Thank god for the magic yellow box and the inspired doctor. The world is a better place because they are here.

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