A joyous day in Hyanglu: Our 7th birth centre has been opened!
16 months have passed since we celebrated the opening ceremony of the last Birth Centre in Mugu - now finally, our 7th Birth Centre has been officially inaugurated in the remote village of Hyanglu. It now serves more than 435 households in the village and its neighbouring communities.
More than 200 people attended the opening ceremony, including official representatives of the Mugu District administration. It was a day filled with laughter, hope, and pride for what has been achieved. The community performed traditional music and dances. Representatives of the local Birth Centre committee and invited guests honoured Back to Life and contributors from the community in their speeches. Finally, it was time for the red ribbon to be cut – accompanied by the thunderous applause of the crowd.
Finding a suitable piece of land on the steep slopes of Hyanglu has been a real challenge. There was not enough public space available that could be utilised. Fortunately, a member of the community, Mr. Nanda Bahadur Karki, donated a sizeable part of his private land to the community. This has been a very generous gift, given that people’s livelihoods depend so much on their land in this area. His modest comment was, ‘I am just happy to be able to help.’
Currently, there are 14 pregnant women in Hyanglu who are preparing for childbirth with the help of our experienced midwife based at the Birth Centre. Two children have been born already, adding to our 740 "Back to Life babies" so far.
None of these mothers will have to stay in a cowshed or hole in the forest when giving birth. The Birth Centre concept successfully puts an end to this dangerous practice, while allowing the local communities to respect their tradition of keeping their homes free from blood. Even though this so-called practice of Chhaupadi has been banned in Nepal, many regions in the far west of the country continue to follow it.
In order to further reduce child and maternal mortality in Mugu, Back to Life is planning to reach a total 13 Birth Centres by the end of 2019.