When you’re in a remote area away from your friends and family, it’s comforting to know that you have a reliable source of communication and satellite phones are often the only way to make this possible. Here is a story that shows just how much of a comfort a simple call can become.
Through their work with Project HOPE in Belize, Iridium was able to provide a connection for volunteers and a local family in a dire situation. The following story has been shared with Iridium by Amy Champagne, Project HOPE’s Volunteer Public Announcement Officer.
“I had been in exotic Belize for a week, participating in a humanitarian mission that was a collaboration between the U.S. Air Force and Project HOPE. We were teaching Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) to local healthcare providers. The volunteers and I were enjoying our favourite local Belizean dish, Hudut, when the phone rang.
If there is one thing to know about having a satellite phone, it’s that you never really know who will be on the other end. It still surprises me that regardless of how remote of a location we are, our Iridium satellite phone keeps us connected.
Iridium Satellite Phone Brings Hope to a Family“Hello,” said a nervous voice in broken English. The person calling was a medical provider from a rural health clinic located about ten minutes away from the restaurant. “I’m looking for the midwives and nurses that are here from Project HOPE.”
I handed the phone to Project HOPE volunteer and midwife, Amy Kogut. to answer the doctor’s questions better than I could.
A pregnant woman was in trouble. During an ultrasound, the fetal Doppler had detected something unusual in the baby’s heartbeat. A doctor had diagnosed the problem as fetal tachycardia, an abnormal increase in the infant’s heartbeat.
When we rushed into a crowded emergency room, I noticed a woman sitting in a wheel chair with a look on her face that said 'anguish.' I heard her mumble something quietly. Listening closer, I heard her say, “Please call my husband, he’s at work.”
Her husband was in Belize City working in a sugar cane field. He had no idea that his wife and unborn child were in trouble. As I watched her, my heart went out to her. She was alone. She desperately wanted to speak to her husband. I couldn’t promise her that her baby would be safe. But I did have a phone, so I could call her husband.
She knew I was desperately trying to reach her spouse. The phone call was short, but she knew her husband was leaving work immediately.
The new-born was a beautiful, healthy baby boy. The mother could recover with ease after speaking to her husband and knowing he was rushing to the hospital to be by her side.
Carrying an Iridium Satellite Phone
There are many reasons to carry a satellite phone. It is emergency communications and peace-of-mind that are two very significant benefits achieved through Iridium’s always-on, always-reliable communications network. Iridium is proud to be a part of Project HOPE’s humanitarian mission to improve the quality of obstetric care in Belize."
Little did I know, this same Iridium satellite phone would later be the point of contact for uniting a family.
Since 1958, Project HOPE has worked in more than 120 countries to make quality and sustainable health care available for people around the globe. Their work includes educating health professionals and community health workers. This strengthens health systems, improves the health of women and children and enables diseases such as TB, HIV/AIDS and diabetes to be fought. Additionally they provide humanitarian assistance through donated medicines, medical supplies and volunteer medical help clicking.