Birthing Better in Baseco

Since my  first trip to Manila in 2009 I have seen some differences in our Baseco slum……Mark and Chris have seen much more!


There are now roads and drainage, in concrete,  not dirt,

There are schools, there are new buildings such as a local market…..

There is even a playground!

But significantly there is a new Medical Centre and a midwifery and birthing unit.

It looks great doesn’t it? So clean and rich looking, but through those bars in the background they are STILL surrounded by the slum, rubbish, open drains and sewerage…just outside the door!

However,  this is a major improvement in the local area.

For a women who lives in an urban slum even travel to and from Maternity Hospital (on two tricycles and a jeepney) is costly.

The choice then becomes food for myself and family to eat that day or an unborn unseen unwanted baby that may not live anyway? Often ,and unfortunately, the women (with a “live for now” mentality) choose food today, not the  baby!

This new centre opened by the Mayor is vital to the success of BBBabies…….midwifery care is now in the neighbourhood, a mere 5-10 minute walk TOPS.

The centre offers women and their babies regular check ups (including blood pressure, babies heart rate/growth) , referral to other places if ultrasound or blood tests need to be taken, there is help most of the day….

But most importantly to our BBBabies ; a small 6 bed Birthing Unit staffed by midwives and a doctor in the building. They can have 3 women birthing simultaneously and 6 women can stay in residence for up to 3 days in the “Lying in Centre” which it is known as in the Community.

Women who have any complications are transferred to the nearby hospitals, but non-complicated births are facilitated actually in the Birthing Unit here in  Baseco.

Pastor Marivic and I were pleasantly surprised at the clean, tiled  floors and the 6 freshly made beds, curtains and the beautiful air conditioning in the WHOLE unit…even when the women was birthing they have fantastic air conditioning……a far cry from labouring in the stifling heat in their small confined and crowded houses, often with only a small candle to see with!

This is the normal conditions women birth in note house, open to the elements, mosquitoes ants and vermin scuttle across the floor! No electricity just candles and sunlight, in the day!

The Unit has it’s own Birthing room which was equipped with oxygen and various life saving labour devices (which we tend to despise here in our cascade of interference orientated birthing community) however in Baseco they are used in a real emergency, as they were designed to be.  To tell you the truth the instruments/oxygen etc were in fact a relief to see, I felt that these women were finally being  protected and cared for…….amazing, how in different settings our opinions vary!

We have been encouraging our ladies to birth here, as it is infinitely better than home and actually far superior to the  Maternity hospitals I have been in,  believe it or not it is an uphill battle!  Many women still prefer home and only after much compulsion hospital……..and the prejudice extends to this new Birthing Unit (even with air conditioning!!) but slowly as the Unit’s reputation increases the women will come! I believe!

Changing preconceived ideas and life patterns is a hard thing, but it simply takes one birth at a time, if just one pregnant women changes her mind, we have won! Better still the precious little ones get a better start in life!

Change your thoughts and you change your world.
Norman Vincent Peale
US clergyman (1898 – 1993)
Blessings from Cathy, Mark and Chris