Today there will be roughly 200,000 babies born into the world. To put that into perspective, that’s just shy of the entire population of Richmond, Virginia which boasts 205,000 or so residents. Progress towards meeting UN Millennium goals 4 & 5 are gaining more and more momentum, largely due in part towards the push to increase the presence of Front Line Health Workers in the most under-served countries.
The term ‘Laj’ is used by Nepalese women when they speak about their expected attitude and actions surrounding pregnancy. To demonstrate how deeply felt this principle is, Nepalese women will often leave the home and deliver their baby with no outside assistance. Amazingly enough, women are also taught to suppress their cries of labor pains, and stifle screams that normally would accompany any contractions under typical circumstance. The women can be so intent on preserving their honor that they fail to seek help until complications – often life threatening for mom and baby – have arisen.
This is a photo of a Haitian midwife by the name of Bien Amie Guerlie. She is using parts of the Maternova obstetric pak--the solar powered headlamp and the WHO Colour Scale to detect anemia. Bien Amie was part of the first graduating class of midwives trained by Midwives for Haiti. The midwives are being trained for deployment in the area around Hinche in mobile clinics and in the local hospital. What has become clear is that the Maternova obstetric paks are both a clinical tool--but also an added safety kit for midwives who are traveling alone in remote areas.