Not all INF stories have a fairy tale ending. Nepal has a very high incidence of disease or deaths of babies within their first month after birth and that is why we work to promote Mother and Child Health [MCH]. One of INF’s field workers in the remote, mountainous regions of Nepal explains that on top of economic conditions, socio-cultural barriers, and a general lack of education, delays are critical factors in the outcomes of obstetric emergencies in Nepal. Such delays include seeking, reaching, and receiving care.

After feeling pain in her abdomen Sarita waited several days before sharing this with her mother-in-law and seeking medical advice. She experienced further pain after visiting a local health post and was being transported to a medical hospital three hours from her home when she delivered her baby still born. Sarita became unconscious in the ambulance and, despite immediate care when she arrived at the hospital, the medical staff could not save her life.

Najira [18], went into early labour with her first pregnancy. She gave birth to twin girls and, due to their low birth weight and the lack of intensive care facilities at the local health post in Dang, she was advised to take her newborns to a better serviced centre located in a private hospital about three hours’ drive from their house. Despite the offer of some financial assistance from the local mother’s group fund, Najira’s family could not afford to take her children to the neonatal care unit. Sadly, both babies died within hours of arriving home. Counseling provided to Najira and her family indicated that they had no prior knowledge of child birth, neonatal care, or the importance of mother and child health.

INF is working with mother’s groups to educate better awareness of healthy pregnancies, danger signs in pregnancy, and to encourage the participation of birthing attendants or institutional deliveries to overcome some of the problems, and reduce delays that are faced by women. Unfortunately, for Sarita and Narjira, this is too late.

INF is working in MCH as part of the greater Community Health Development [CHD], supporting community health posts and advisors to facilitate mother’s group networks to become aware of and develop a positive attitude and ownership towards their health. They are supported in MCH issues, encouraged to seek advice and accept care before an emergency eventuates. And if it does, they are better informed on the decisions that might have to be made. These mother’s groups now feel confident that they know how to recognize the main risks in childbirth and hope to avoid disaster in the future.

PRAY |GIVE | GO | SHARE – Please pray for the community health workers and the mother’s groups as they work together to educate and empower women to make informed decisions on the health of themselves and their children.