Twenty-five-year-old Khemwanti Pradhan is a ‘Mitanin’ – a trained and accredited community health worker – based in the Nagarbeda village of the Bastar region in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh.
Diouma Tine is a 50-year-old vegetable seller and a mother of six boys. In her native Senegal, she tells IPS, motherhood isn’t a choice. “If you’re married, then you must have children. If you don’t, then you don’t get to stay in your husband’s house, and no one will respect you.”
Nasrin Mohamadi, a mother of four, has promised herself never to set foot in an Afghan public hospital again. After her first experience in a maternity ward, she has lost all faith in the state’s healthcare system.
It was a long and hard 10 hours of labour.
The story goes like this: a young mother lies quietly in a dimly lit room having just given birth to her baby. For the next seven days she watches over the child with caution, nursing and swaddling it patiently. Fearful that the infant will not survive past a few days, she refuses to give it a name.
"Midwives in Guatemala attend to women during pregnancy, the birth and the post-partum period. They give the women warmth and support, because they speak the same language and belong to the same culture," said Silvia Xinico with the Network of Organisations of Indigenous Women for Reproductive Health.