While Red Cross emergency response personnel were doing the hard labour of building a field hospital outside the Ormoc District Hospital, Flora Entero, 25, was doing the real thing inside the devastated facility. Flora delivered her first child in the middle of the night – with the help of a doctor holding a flashlight – hours before the field hospital opened its doors.
Never one to shy away from a challenge, Flora named her daughter Fiona Haiyan, after the typhoon that ravaged her town. Now two days old, Fiona Haiyan is the picture of health, and her mother couldn’t have been happier to move into the Red Cross field hospital’s clean and comfortable maternity ward hours after giving birth.
For the past two weeks – since Typhoon Haiyan struck the city of Ormoc – new mothers have been forced to recover on hard metal benches in the hospital’s lobby and hallways, surrounded by all of the other patients and their families. This made it difficult for the women to recover physically, and they lacked the space and privacy to bond with their newborns and establish critical practices like breastfeeding.
After arriving in the post-delivery ward, Flora and Fiona Haiyan were soon joined by seven other mothers and newborns, as the field hospital’s team of midwives kicked into action. Jocely became the first woman in Ormoc to give birth in the tented hospital, delivering baby Daniel less than 12 hours after it opened its doors. She quickly befriended Flora in the maternity ward.
The Red Cross field hospital was dispatched to Ormoc to support the district hospital – the only public facility for a city of 190,000 people. The hospital was heavily damaged by Typhoon Haiyan, leaving its team of doctors with no operating theatre, no patient wards, and no lights to help them care for patients at night. The Red Cross field hospital was built in only 48 hours, and is now a critical part of the hospital system, serving vulnerable communities across the city.
By Gwen Eamer, Red Cross, Ormoc