On a snowy afternoon a heavily pregnant Pooja reached CHC Sahoo in Chamba District with Labor pains. She had just walked 6.5 kms on a snow covered road from Sara, a village in the higher Himalayan region of the district. At the facility the Labor room, nurse Meenakshi, assessed Pooja’s condition and discovered that this was a breech delivery case.

Meenkashi decided to refer Pooja to the district Hospital, but Pooja refused to travel any further to another facility. Meenkashi was left with no choice but to conduct the delivery in her own facility. Meenakshi is amongst the 1400 Labor room staff members trained by Vriddhi project across six focus states on the care around birth approach.

During the training she learnt about monitoring of Labor using partograph. Meenakshi says, “We learnt about partograph, which is useful in tracking the progress of Labor and it has also helped us refer cases in a timely manner and save lives.”

While handling Pooja’s condition, she started monitoring and recorded the Fetal Heart Rate every 30 minutes as per the protocol. To everybody’s relief Pooja delivered a baby girl after two hours of admission, but this was not the end of the story. The baby did not start breathing spontaneously, she was asphyxiated and needed to be resuscitated within the first ‘golden minute’. Meenkashi quickly transferred the baby to the radiant warmer leaving Pooja under the care of her co-worker, another Labor room nurse.

Using her recently acquired skills of resuscitation with bag and mask (also covered under the care around birth module) Meenakshi was able to revive the baby instantly. Pooja’s baby was named Meenakashi inspired by the nurse who delivered her safely.

This is one of the many critical emergency conditions faced by Labor room staff especially working in public health facilities in difficult terrains where ‘right decisions at the right time and prompt actions’ enable them to save lives. Vriddhi through its care around birth approach targets mothers and newborn at the critical time of birth. The approach not only aims at enhancing skills of health workers but also empowers them and builds their confidence to apply their learning to real life situations and make a difference.