Philippine Response Blog

Humanitarian Communications

A Light in the Storm


New addition. The Ramos family rejoice their new member's safe arrival. © IOM 2014 (Photo by Alan Motus)

“Helping a mother give birth is critical that’s why whenever it happens, we make sure all of our equipment are up and running,” says Lolita Yamyamin, a health care aide who has been working in the supported RHU (RHU) in Pontevedra, Capiz for 15 years.

While everyone else was evacuated down to  the evacuation centres, in  Pontevedra Rural Health Unit (RHU), a young mother was waiting to give birth. Cathy Ramos was already in the RHU’s delivery room, ready to give birth when Typhoon Hagupit hit and caused a municipality-wide blackout.  

Understanding the importance of having lights and equipment at that crucial point, Lolita rushed out and used the generator power the entire RHU.  “The baby was already in the crowning stage. Its head was already showing when the power shut down. It wasn’t just an inconvenience because if we couldn’t act fast and that stage was further delayed, the child may develop abnormalities,” says Lolita.

The Pontevedra RHU is among the many health units being supported by IOM through the funds from AmeriCares, the Government of Canada and Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has provided medicines, medical supplies and equipment including generator sets, augmentation of medical professional as well as repairs of medical consultation facility.

For Lolita, knowing that building secured against the storm and she had everything she needed, she was able to focus on helping Cathy. “As soon as the generator started running, I felt a rush of adrenaline, I knew we need to deliver this baby now and so, we powered the lights, the suction apparatus and everything else we would need as soon as the baby comes out.” Soon after, Cathy gave birth to a healthy, 8-pound baby boy.

“I wasn’t scared…I knew the power shut down but I didn’t feel the least bit amount of fear. I knew I was in competent hands.” – Cathy