Our joy was multiplied when our first days in Mungeli overlapped with the last two days of six outstanding nurses/nursing students from the University of San Diego. After chapel and rounds on Wednesday, we joined Drs. Anil and Teresa and all the nurses and nursing students for a presentation by the USD group on Kangaroo Care. This skin to skin contact between mother and baby has many proven benefits and is increasingly being used in the US and around the world.

On Thursday Mary Linda, Nancy and I teamed up with two delightful young nurses—Durga and Sewti—to encourage Kangaroo Care on the mother/baby unit. Try to imagine this unit…an open ward with 20 beds of mothers sharing their beds with their babies, all wearing beautiful, brightly colored clothing from home and covered with thick, patterned blankets, also from home. Imagine as well that each mother might have one or two (or five!) family members gathered around, as families come to CHM and remain with the mother and baby during the 8-day stay after delivery. A number of nurses in traditional nursing attire, white saris, white caps and navy blue cardigans, move about the ward, caring for their patients.

In this unique and special community we were able to encourage the practice of Kangaroo Care. Durga and Sewti provided instructions in the local language and helped the mothers and babies disrobe then settle down skin to skin. We Americans provided smiles, love pats and enthusiastic “Kangaroo Care. So good!” praise. In an hour’s time our determined team achieved Kangaroo Care with five mother/baby pairs. We were so pleased by this. Even more, I believe, we were gratified by the sense that in conjunction with our “teammates” from San Diego, we are helping to establish an important practice for the precious newborns of Christian Hospital Mungeli.

Hannah Fenley