Swansea doctor Mikey Bryant found himself on the other side of life saving support after his wife went into labour early with the couple’s first born son. 

Whilst doing a ward round in the neonatal care centre at ELWA hospital in Liberia, Mikey received a call from Singleton hospital to say that his wife, paediatric trainee Dr Bethany Bryant, had gone into labour 11 weeks early.

He rushed home to Singleton hospital in Swansea, where their baby Finley was an inpatient in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  Finley was kept in hospital for 7 weeks, receiving outstanding care from the team until he was able to be discharged in January. Now the couple have launched a fundraising initiative for the work in Liberia to ensure newborns there receive the same care Finley did.

During the last three years, Swansea Bay Health Charity, with support from the Welsh Government’s Africa Links fund, have founded and operate a malnutrition inpatient and outpatient programme in the impoverished West African country of Liberia, where child mortality rates are among the highest in the world. 

Since undertaking this work, they have seen child deaths due to malnutrition fall significantly, and have used the programme to develop healthcare staff in Liberia, training over 300 Liberian healthcare personnel through the WHO-approved ETAT plus program.  They have also created a five bed paediatric emergency department and a busy clinic for children under five years old.  Since its inception, over 20,000 children have been treated by this programme.

The project was expanded during November 2021, when Mikey and his team established a 6-bed neonatal care unit with a new oxygen system, fluid management protocols and organised treatment plans for unwell newborns. At the time this was established, Dr Bryant didn’t know that his own child would soon be needing this kind of intensive care only a matter of weeks later back home in Swansea.

Until her pregnancy, Dr Bethany Bryant had also supported the work in Liberia, speaking after the birth of Finlay, she said “I’ve witnessed first-hand the risks of childbirth to many women and babies where they did not know such help whilst in Liberia.  We were so fortunate for the care that Finlay received by the Singleton Neonatal Intensive Care unit and we want newborns in West Africa to get the same care he did.  These babies lives can be saved if we work together. We are so thankful for the care and encouragement many have shown in supporting the work to care for the children in Liberia.”

The couple have set up a justgiving page to raise funds to continue to carry out this vital work for some of the world’s poorest children.  If you would like to donate, the links is below.

Michael Bryant is fundraising for Swansea Bay University LHB Charitable Fund and Other Related Charities (justgiving.com)

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