In Flores, in general, around 99% of the population live as farmers in the villages far from access to health services. This is how I myself live. My house is in Demon Dei, a remote village in the hinterland of Adonara island, in Wotan Ulumado Subdistrict. Even though there is a midwife in the village, she is frequently out of the village so it is difficult for the people to get health services. The subdistrict public health center (Puskesmas) is located in the capital of the subdistrict, around 5 km away, and road conditions are bad.
Having been accustomed to the hard kind of life being experienced as a poor farmer, I did not feel special when waiting for the birth of my second child. However, it does not mean that I did not have my pregnancy checked by health workers. I visited the community health post (Posyandu) and had check ups in Puskesmas because the midwife in the village is not always there.
I do not recall exactly how many times I went to Puskesmas but maybe around three times in the course of my pregnancy. I do this as I am aware that health is the most important thing for me. With regard to education, I am lucky to have had it until senior high school, thus I am educated better than most people in the village. So for me good health is a treasure of immeasurable value.
Knowing that I regularly had consultation with health providers and got the information that my pregnancy was safe, I was expecting to have trouble-free labour. Evaluating such a situation my husband and I decided to have labour at home assisted by traditional birth attendant (TBA). The reasons we used were:
1). Midwife is always out of the village since she lives with her husband in the capital of subdistrict and just visits the village once a while.
2). The fee for labour assisted by a health provider is quite expensive, while we are just a poor family. Also, going to Puskesmas needs fee for renting transport as well.
On September 27th, 2006 our waiting days came to an end. My stomach was aching and I was sure I was having the baby. But after waiting for hours the baby was not appearing although three TBAs had been called to assist me.They made bio traditional medicine and gave it to me to drink. I had two glasses of medicine but my baby did not come out. In the meantime my condition got weak and I started to drop. I fainted and consciousness started to go down.
At this point my husband asked one of his nephews to seek assistance of a health worker in subdistrict Puskesmas. Riding a horse, he soon headed for Puskesmas and called a midwife to quickly go to the village to help me.
With the rest of my strength I was thinking, is is possible that the midwife can arrive soon to help me because the distance is five km with very bad road condition? Pessimism started to grow since several mothers died in the village due to child labor. That happened because the midwife was late arriving at the village because of the very minimal means of transport in the area.
However, I was very lucky. The awaited midwife finally arrived in relatively brief time. It took her 30 minutes to reach the village by motorcycle. Equipped with minimal tools she was able to assist the delivery and my baby was saved as well as me.
After my strength recovered a little bit I found my baby sleeping by my side. At that moment in a low voice I repeatedly expressed my thanks to God and to the midwife. Hearing what I said, midwife said. “The ability to help you is not from me alone. You are safe because, aside from God’s help, I can come faster due to the help of HfA / YKS in supporting our activities with motorcycles, so that we can come here quickly as soon as receiving the message. Being later by a few minutes could mean your life, and your baby’s, would have a different outcome.”