Nepali women risk their lives to give birth
In Nepal, almost all (90%) pregnant women deliver their babies at home. The poorest families have no access to prenatal care or any Skilled Birth Attendant (SBA) to help them through the delivery. It is no wonder that every day, 12 Nepali women die in childbirth, nearly half of them needlessly bleeding to death. And even when a new mother does survive, odds are that her baby will not. Every day, 75 Nepali infants take their final breath, most of them less than a day old.
The problem is not that there are not hospitals in Nepal
In fact, there are several regional hospitals staffed with highly trained obstetric and pediatric medical professionals. The government sponsors SBA training courses and supports a few outlying facilities to provide urgent and preventive care for pregnancy and delivery complications. The problem is that these centers are open only during business hours and the roads to get to them are often impassable. Many Nepali women live hours or even days from the nearest road or transportation to the hospital.
The Nepali Government is trying to help, but…
While the Nepali health ministry recognizes that trained community-based providers could help reduce the number of maternal and infant deaths, formal training efforts have not yet been implemented. Based on our successful program in Tibet, we have formed an INGO in Nepal, to work on our Pregnancy and Village Outreach Training (PAVOT) program in the Baglung and Dolpa Districts in Western Nepal. Soon the 250,000 people living in rural communities scattered along the foothills of the Himalayas will have the resources and training to help women survive childbirth and give their babies a chance to live.
“At the Baglung District Hospital, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tarun told me an amazing story. He was attending to a woman in labor who needed a caesarean section. It was in the middle of the night and there was no electricity in the hospital so he ran to the local village and found a generator to light the operation room. In the middle of the operation, just as he was about to deliver the baby, the generator failed. Fortunately, Dr. Tarun is a very experienced doctor and was able to deliver the baby in total darkness. Then he wrapped large sterile cloths around the mother’s abdomen so she would not bleed to death. In the morning when the electricity came back on, Dr. Tarun sutured her uterus and abdomen back together and today, both mother and baby are doing fine. We are proud to support Dr. Tarun, an amazing doctor who works under extremely difficult circumstances in Nepal.”
- Mary Richards (CNM)