Family members of the newborn, along with staff members at the Maternidad, celebrate with a sign that reads: The Maternidad de Maria Celebrates the 100,000th birth from July 10, 1966, to October 20, 2019.
The 100,000th baby born at the Maternidad de Maria arrived with fanfare and excitement on October 20, 2019, at 4:35 pm! “Baby 100K” was a healthy baby boy, weighing just over 7 pounds. He is the second child of mother Sumiko Nahomi Luera Durand and her husband, Launched Pacherres Anders.
The details of this baby’s arrival — and the 99,999 babies before him — were recorded on paper by hand in the maternity hospital’s logbook. This time-honored practice at the Maternidad will likely continue for years to come even as computer-based technology expands throughout the Center for Social Works.
For those individuals who have been connected to the Chimbote Mission from its humble beginnings, this milestone is one to be cherished and celebrated.
Chimbote Foundation board member Gretchen Roos, niece of Msgr. Jules Roos, marvels at the progress that has been made at the Mission over the years. “It was the severe mortality rate — one in five babies dying at birth — that led my uncle and others to open the two-bed maternity hospital over 50 years ago. To save just one of these babies was a blessing from God. To have now provided a healthy facility with compassionate care for 100,000 babies is a testament to the unfailing vision, love and commitment of all who have served the Mission for the last five decades.”
Since 1966, the people of Chimbote have come to the Center for Social Works for reliable healthcare regardless of their ability to pay. Staff at the 26-bed maternity hospital deliver more than 300 babies each month. Here, expectant mothers learn the importance of good hygiene and prenatal care. After their baby is born, parents come back to learn healthcare practices that will give their children a better chance to survive in the often-harsh environment of poverty in Chimbote.
At the 2019 Peru Mission Dinner in October, Sister Margaret Mary Birchmeier, in conjunction with Sister Lillian Bockheim, shared some of her thoughts about this milestone:
“There is no doubt in my mind that all of you agree it is good for us to be here together…
It’s very difficult for me to speak after seeing the video and listening to all the comments here about the Center, but let me just say this little thing. We were all excited about reaching 100,000 births in the Maternidad.
About two weeks ago we started taking pictures of babies: 99,980 … 99,985 … 99,990. And the hospital staff tell me that usually the first question that was asked of them when somebody was going to be admitted was, “How long do you think it will be before the baby is born?”
The first question asked in the past weeks was, “What number am I?”
I read once — I don’t know where and I never wrote it down, but it left an impression on me — that statistics are very important because they help any institution decide whether it’s viable to exist. However, they lack the statistic of the tears and the joy that represents the numbers.
And it’s certainly true at the Center. The two of us have experienced this day after day.
Earlier this year we received a newborn at our orphans’ unit that was left abandoned — very healthy, weighed seven pounds. About five or six weeks later, the judge of the family courts gave us a 15-month-old girl weighing the same as the newborn. She had been badly neglected, abused and severely malnourished. I will tell you, the statistic of seeing her first smile should be written in the books!
And the people who come for physical therapy — concerned or dejected because they can’t use their arm or their leg or they have other physical deformities that impede them somehow — the joy they exude when they can feed themselves or take a step! And the family home visits — just to have the nurses come into their house and look at them — the family members know they are important! These are the statistics that really count, and these are the statistics that you, on this side of the bridge, make possible for us on our side of the bridge.
So, Sister Lillian and I, in the name of all the people at the Center, want to express our sincere thanks for helping us be the hands and feet of Christ in Chimbote.”
Proud parents of the 100,000th newborn baby pose for a picture framed with the message: We’ve arrived at the 100,000th birth!