Teaching in the jail
During the global pandemic, pregnant women have faced many obstacles hindering their maternity care with lockdowns keeping them at home and reduced clinic hours in many places. Incarcerated women in the Philippines have been especially isolated as visitors to prisoners have been banned during much of the pandemic. One exception to this rule is that medical personnel have been permitted to still visit even when others cannot. In these situations, our courageous Mercy In Action staff have not only provided excellent maternity care, but have also met the need for social interaction and support for lonely, uncared for pregnant patients who are incarcerated.
For the past decade, Mercy midwives have volunteered to go into the women's prison in our region and give prenatal care to the pregnant prisoners. About 10 years ago, Vicki and Rose made arrangements with the prison officials for the women to be able to come to our birth center to deliver, as long as they were experiencing a low-risk pregnancy. We are actively involved in caring for pregnant inmates in several of our birth center locations.
Here's a short video in which Vicki tells a story about the prison outreach: Vicki's prison outreach story
Nerissa, our midwife in Leyte, recently taught a seminar on Maternal/Child Health in the women's prison. She was able to educate women about pregnancy and provide information for keeping children healthy. These women may remember this their whole lives, far beyond their time in jail.
Rina, our Patient Care Liaison, goes into the prison regularly and brings one of our midwives to do checkups if there are currently any pregnant women incarcerated. The kindness and respect Rina and the midwives offer these women stand in stark contrast to the way they are treated by the guards and fellow inmates.
Marlene, one of our midwives in Olongapo, has visited the regional prison to do checkups whenever there are pregnant women inmates, and this year our birth center had a woman brought by the guards when her labor began. This mother had a gentle, natural birth and was treated with respect and an outpouring of love by our midwives. Her baby had the best start possible to life, and she and the baby will forever have that moment together.
Your generosity enables Mercy in Action midwives to serve the incarcerated women isolated from their families in their communities while they also faithfully provide routine maternity care to families. Thank you!
Jenny Fox for the Mercy in Action Team
Entering the jail
Mercy midwives visiting the jail