A big thank you to our midwives
At the beginning of the year we would like to express our appreciation to our 22 midwives in Nepal. They provide 24/7 care to women and newborns at our 11 Birth Centres in one of the remotest mountain regions in the northwest of Nepal. Thanks to them, more than 30,000 people in our Mugu project area are able to access professional obstetric care - reaching around 60 percent of the district's population. More Birth Centres are planned and two are currently under construction and expected to open later this year.
The work of our midwives has become indispensable. They perform monthly pregnancy exams, provide medication, support newborn care and assist mothers with breastfeeding. They also provide vital information on contraception and other reproductive health education and advise family members on how they can best support young mothers and their babies. They offer training on infant and young child feeding as well as baby hygiene. They conduct home visits in the villages to encourage women to come to our Birth Centres for childbirth. - All of this they do with professional passion and loving care.
The maternal health situation in Nepal is still unsatisfactory. Current data shows that 229 women per 100,000 births die during or after birth (Source). With this in mind, Back to Life has launched its Birth Centre project back in 2012 in order to enable women in Nepal to experience a dignified and safe birth. In addition, we are also actively contributing to the elimination of the Chhaupadi tradition, which is particularly widespread in Western Nepal. Although prohibited by law since 2017, this traditional practice bans women and girls from their homes during menstruation or childbirth, which is putting them at great risk.
Research has shown that 83 percent of all maternal and newborn deaths and stillbirths could be prevented with comprehensive obstetric care (Source). Midwifery counseling also supports a healthy spacing of pregnancies and the use of contraceptives. Therefore, Back to Life does not only operate Birth Centres, but also supports local women with high school degrees (at least 10th grade) to become trained midwives. Last year we also provided a 3-month competency-based skilled birth attendant training to 11 of our midwives.
Most importantly, women feel that they are in good hands when giving birth to their children at our Birth Centres. We thank our midwives for their admirable work. - Happy 2020 to everyone!