Helping moms, babies when disaster strikes, news article relating to Hurricane Katrina
Author: Shaver T & Oleck A. Baltimore Sun
Resource type: News
From the Baltimore Sun
Helping moms, babies when disaster strikes
By Theresa Shaver and Adrienne Oleck
May 14, 2006
During the Katrina disaster, Robbie Prepas, a certified nurse midwife from California, delivered five babies in the New Orleans Airport and twins in an ambulance en route to Baton Rouge. She triaged several hundred pregnant moms by listening to their fetal heartbeats, providing antenatal and postpartum care.
"I have worked in disaster situations all over the world, and Hurricane Katrina was the worst I have ever been involved in," said Ms. Prepas, a member of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. "There were no policies or procedures in place to care for pregnant women or mothers and their babies after Katrina. We even lacked such basics as diapers, formula, baby bottles and clean clothes."
Across the Gulf Coast, doctors, nurses and other health care providers evacuated newborns and their mothers by boat, helicopter and ambulance. Health care providers demonstrated resourcefulness and courage in caring for pregnant and laboring women, fragile infants and newborns despite the lack of disaster plans or training to help them care for these populations in an emergency.
s a Mother's Day gift to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, maternal and infant health groups across the country have pledged to prepare for the next disaster now so that no family has to experience another Katrina.
As we saw on our TV screens last year, mass chaos, including the lack of medical care, destruction of health care facilities, food and water shortages and separation of families, is disastrous to communities. Pregnant women and newborns are particularly vulnerable to these events. During disasters, women experience greater rates of health complications associated with pregnancy, including premature births, low-birth-weight infants and infant deaths.
International and U.N. organizations have a master plan to help pregnant women, infants and new mothers when disasters strike. International relief organizations used these guidelines to provide a health care response after the tsunami, mudslides and earthquakes of recent years.
They were able to care for thousands of mothers, children and families during these disasters. Immediate responses included assessing the needs of the community, restoring basic medical services and providing mental health support for pregnant women and new mothers.
In this country, the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood, in association with the March of Dimes, the American College of Gynecologists and Obstetricians, the American College of Nurse Midwives and other national maternal and child health organizations, is working to develop similar guidance documents for domestic organizations to use in preparing for the next U.S. disaster.
Such a plan could be customized to work with existing and evolving disaster plans at the federal, state and local levels so that the special health care needs of pregnant women, babies and new mothers are addressed during a disaster.
Any disaster plan for pregnant women, newborns and new mothers should include:
- A synchronization of federal, state and local emergency preparedness plans.
- A Web site and toll-free number for maternal health resources and reporting.
- A system to match pregnant women and new moms with health care professionals.
- Training for emergency first responders in the special needs of pregnant women, infants and new moms.
- A plan to keep families together, especially in regard to mothers and infants, if evacuations occur.
- Shelter plans that provide separate living areas for nursing mothers, new mothers and their families.
- Attention to security to protect women and children against domestic and sexual violence.
Ensuring healthy births, healthy babies and healthy mothers should be important not only to families affected by disaster but to all of us. We can take the hard lessons learned from Katrina to ensure the health and safety of pregnant women, new mothers and infants when disaster strikes next.
Theresa Shaver is executive director of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood. Adrienne Oleck is founder of Safer Maternity. Their e-mails are firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.
Copyright © 2006, The Baltimore Sun | Get Sun home delivery
baltimoresun-post-hurricane-katrina-setting-up-us-guidance.doc (Word, 31kb)
More like this
Resource: Group Urges Disaster Planning for Pregnant Women, Babies, News article
Group Urges Disaster Planning for Pregnant Women, Babies By Rama Lakshmi Special to The Washington Post Thursday, August 17, 2006; Page A09 In the days after Hurricane...
Resource: National Working Group for Women and Infant Needs in Emergencies in the United States
www.whiteribbonalliance.org/Resources/Documents/WISP.Final.07.27.07.pdf Executive summary of report: The mass chaos that followed Hurricane Katrina was a wake-up call for U.S....
NEX: Strengthening postnatal care in Gaza: A home-visiting programme for mothers and newborns
Lisez cet article en français ici View this article as a pdf Amani Jouda is the Early Childhood and Development Officer in the UNICEF Gaza field office. Selena...
en-net: Relactating Exercise
I do want to study more about relactation exercise for mothers who had ceased breastfeeding for long time. And, other is that does a woman who never marriage (never delivered...
FEX: Contributing to the Infant and Young Child Feeding in Emergencies (IYCF-E) response in the Philippines: a local NGO perspective
By Romelei Camiling-Alfonso, Donna Isabel S. Capili, Katherine Ann V. Reyes, A.M. Francesca Tatad and Maria Asuncion Silvestre Romelei Camiling-Alfonso has worked for the...
FEX: Caring for premature babies in a conflict zone
Summary of published experiences1 This paper describes aspects of the authors work as a midwife with Médecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in a north-western regional hospital in Côte...
FEX: Improving maternal nutrition in South Asia: Implications for child wasting prevention efforts
View this article as a pdf Lisez cet article en français ici By Zivai Murira and Harriet Torlesse Zivai Murira is Nutrition Specialist at United Nations Children's...
en-net: IYCF Counselling... Is it for post-natal care women only?
Hello Team, We have health and nutrition mobile teams delivering health (IMCI,ANC/PNC,Immunization), and nutrition (OTP) services. IYCF counselling is one of these services....
Resource: Breastfeeding support helps families cope with Hurricane Gustav
www.ilca.org/pressroom/ILCA%20Press%20Release%209-2-08%20Gustav.pdf BREASTFEEDING SUPPORT HELPS FAMILIES COPE WITH GUSTAV As Hurricane Gustav approaches landfall and families...
FEX: Breastfeeding support in the refugee camps of North Western Tanzania
By Lucas Kulwa Machibya Lucas Machibya has been working for UNHCR since June 1994 in the north-western Tanzania refugee operation as National Public Health Nutrition Officer....
FEX: Socio-Anthropological Aspects of Home Recovery from Severe Manutrition
By Adrienne Daudet and Carlos Navarro-Colorado Morlaï, cured at home, at last weekly visit. Adrienne Daudet is an agronomist and has an MA in anthropology. She has four years...
FEX: Diarrhoea risk associated with not breastfeeding in Botswana
Summary of report and presentation1 Between November 2005 and February 2006, there were unusually heavy rains and flooding in Botswana, and by January 2006, there was an...
Resource: Women & Infants Service Package (WISP): Planning for Emergencies
www.whiteribbonalliance.org/images/upload/APHApresentation.ppt#256,1 Women & Infants Service Package (WISP): Planning for Emergencies Lisa Summers, CNM, DrPH, from ACNM gave...
FEX: Integrated PMTCT Services in a Rural Setting in Malawi
By Gertrude Kara, WFP and Mary Corbett, ENN Gertrude Kara is the Programme Officer responsible for HIV/AIDS programmes in WFP Malawi. She has wide experience in the area of...
FEX: A positive postnatal experience: World Health Organization recommendations
View this article as a pdf This is a summary of the following report: World Health Organization (2022) WHO recommendations on maternal and newborn care for a positive...
FEX: Preventing teen pregnancies and supporting pregnant teenagers in Ecuador
View this article as a pdf By Sara Bernardini, Geraldine Honton, Laura Irizarry, Jesús Sanz, Estefanía Castillo, Carmen Guevara and Lorena Andrade Sara...
en-net: Infant feeding and the European refugee crisis
Dear en-net, We have been alerted to appeals on Facebook pages and elsewhere for baby milks and bottles etc as part of the response to the Refugee crisis in Europe. Can anyone...
FEX: Growth faltering in early infancy: highlights from a two-day scientific consultation
View this article as a pdf Report summary1 Growth faltering among babies less than six months of age remains a significant concern in India which has not so far received...
Resource: When disasters happen: Breastfeeding in Emergencies
Date not known. Made for the US. Taken from the website: All moms should be encouraged to breastfeed, it is best for the baby and mom. But what does a mom do during a disaster...
FEX: Increased diarrhoea following infant formula distribution in 2006 earthquake response in Indonesia: evidence and actions
By Fitsum Assefa, Sri Sukotjo (Ninik), Anna Winoto and David Hipgrave Fitsum Assefa is a nutritionist with over 15 years experience working on public nutrition in various...
Reference this page
Shaver T & Oleck A. Baltimore Sun (). Helping moms, babies when disaster strikes, news article relating to Hurricane Katrina. www.ennonline.net/helpingmomsbabiesdisasters