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Bozeman Health News

Section: Employee News

International Outreach


International Outreach

In May 2015, Kimberly Todd, RNC, of Bozeman Health Family Birth Center traveled halfway around the world to assist a development team in improving maternal health in Kyrgyzstan. The former Soviet Republic just west of China has one of the worst maternal/infant mortality rates in the world, where six of 10 births in rural areas have life altering complications.

As a labor nurse, wife of a farmer and a grandmother, Kimberly connected easily with Kyrgyz women. Over three weeks, she bounced over rough roads to reach villages where she offered simple child birth education and fertility awareness, and taught a bead method to help women keep track of their monthly fertility cycles.

“Women in Kyrgyzstan were serious about learning and taking notes,” Kimberly reflected. “I was thrilled to have bright and creative translators who were learning and before long teaching with a passion.”

Kimberly and her team shared modern medical practice, advanced nursing techniques and even chili recipes with the Kyrgyz women. For several shifts, they observed birthing practices in the country’s finest hospital, which included a cesarean section performed without cautery, suction or oxygen, and with limited anesthesia. She noted that women delivering at this facility brought their own linens and sterile equipment was questionable.

“Because of a measles outbreak, no family members were allowed in, so each laboring woman was alone and on her feet, but the Kyrgyz women were fearless and confident,” she said. “It was an honor to witness their unassisted birthing and to have the privilege to offer support and encouragement. There is a raw beauty and magnet power in their courage. This is the Kyrgyz birthing attribute I brought home and carry with me into each birth at our Family Birth Center.”

Categories: Employee News