Below is the latest episode of Nepal Now, a podcast I started in 2020. See all episodes at nepalnow.buzzsprout.com.

More pills, still no magic—giving birth in the hills of Nepal Nepal Now

I’d been wanting to return to Chimling Village in the hills of Sindhupalchowk district since soon after my first visit in March 2021. That’s when I accompanied health workers to find out the status of women who had given birth recently, but had delivered their babies at home. In particular, I was curious about their experiences with misoprostol, a drug that’s given to pregnant women who might deliver without the support of a skilled birth attendant. The main cause of death in home deliveries in Nepal, and elsewhere, is excessive bleeding after the birth; misoprostol is meant to stop that. The visit was a real eye-opener. I found out that of 10 women who had recently given birth at home, only one, Dilmaya Tamang, had received the pills. And she got them only because a visiting health worker had spoken to the female community health volunteer responsible for the village, who happened to be Dilmaya’s   sister-in-law and neighbour, before Dilmaya gave birth. That specific incident was troubling, but I think what bothered me most as I returned from my trip was the casual attitudes I found in many people involved in providing health services. In some cases the health care given to mother and child could easily mean the difference between life and death.So, I was happy to see that Dilmaya and her neighbour Priya were healthy, as were their nine-month-old babies. The one woman in the village currently pregnant told us that she was planning to deliver in the birthing centre—another piece of good news. When we visited the centre in March the building was complete but equipment and drugs were not on hand and essential staff had gone for training. But then we heard about a home delivery that had taken place nearby a few days earlier. We could get few details from the birthing centre, so we went to speak with the new mother and her family, a conversation that brought back my earlier fears about health care in the hills of Nepal.  ResourcesOne Heart Worldwide Location of Chimling village, Balephi MunicipalityNepal Now social linksFacebookInstagramTwitterLinkedInThanks as always to Nikunja Nepal for advice and inspiration.Music: amaretto needs ice … by urmymuse (c) copyright 2018 Licensed     under a Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial  (3.0) license.     http://dig.ccmixter.org/files/urmymuse/57996 Ft: Apoxode
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