Amina was sitting in a small, Suffocating – Hot blue plastic tents double as examination rooms in an internally displaced persons relief camp on the outskirts of the small town of Metropolis in Pakistan’s Sindh province. It was an unbearably hot day in late September and the sun was blazing. To protect her privacy, we will use only her first name with all mothers in this story to identify Amina, who is a member of Pregnant women waiting to be examined by midwives Neha Mankani and Jahan Zuberi from Mama Baby Fund, a Karachi-based welfare fund In providing in-kind donations and emergency financial support to vulnerable expecting mothers.
Amina is in her third trimester and has a fever. She complained of limb fatigue, lethargy and weakness. When Mankani massaged her abdomen with a portable ultrasound device, she discovered that Amina was pregnant with twins. This is a high-risk pregnancy. A flurry of activity ensued as Mankani tried to arrange for Amina to go to the nearest government hospital for further tests.
“I can’t leave the camp,” Amina insisted. “I have children in the tent. If I’m not here, who will take care of them?”
If Amina was at her village home, she would rely on her community to help her when she went to the hospital. But now, her support network has been cut off due to the unprecedented flooding and record monsoon rains that hit Pakistan this summer, displacing her from her home. She is also hungry, thirsty, dehydrated, and possibly even anemic.