Swedish midwife, Christina Pedersen collaborating with Ipas- an organization headquartered in North Carolina, US and working around the world to increase women’s ability to exercise their sexual and reproductive rights, especially the right to safe abortion visited the Tinsukia and Dibrugarh Boat Clinic Units in April 2012. Her report follows with photographs of the camps :
THE BOAT CLINICS IN ASSAM
I am a Swedish midwife and master student from Uppsala University in Sweden visiting Assam to do research on safe abortion care in relation to the high numbers of maternal mortality in Assam. The context is fascinating and complex in this region and there are so many reasons contributing to the high numbers of maternal mortality. I have been doing an interview study with doctors and general nurse midwives involved in abortion care working in government facilities both in rural and urban areas.
When I was visiting Upper Assam I got the opportunity to visit the Boat clinics in Tinsukia and Dibrugarh, I went with the boat located on the Dibru river outside of Tinsukia and could follow the teams work close up. We went upstream to one island that had a village with a population of approximately 350 persons. A health camp was quickly built close to the shore with a small tent roof and a table and some chairs under the roof for the doctor to sit and meet his patients. A never ending line of people with various health problems came to see the young doctor who patiently gave them advice and treatment. If the patients needed they could also go and meet the pharmacist, take some lab.tests, receive family planning or ante- and postnatal care, also children’s checkups and vaccination was available.
I am very impressed by their work and the enthusiasm the team showed. They seemed to enjoy their work and all had important tasks to do and therefore I felt they performed very well. After the health clinic we had lunch together and discussed about health issues concerning reproductive health and the specific problems found in the area where the boat clinics work.
The next day, after my interviews at Tinsukia civil hospital, I went to meet with the boat clinic team in Dibrugarh. We also had an interesting discussion about reproductive heath issues, contraceptive counselling and women’s health.
I found the boat clinics to be an extremely important provider of health care to people who otherwise would have a very limited access to health care at all. I am very impressed and inspired of what I saw.
Keep up the good work!