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About the Author

Ladislav Kudlacek
Education project manager (Czech Republic)

Political Scientist and Economist. I worked for human rights and humanitarian NGO in India and for international NGO People in Need based in the Czech Republic as a Programme Manager for Afghanistan. In present time I work as an Education Manager. I studied Economics in Tomas Bata University and Political Science in Masaryk University in the Czech Republic and in the University of Delhi in India and Humanitarian and International Law in Helsinki University in Finland.

Post

Indian midwives putting pressure on the abdomen for faster childbirth

Published 19th April 2010 - 3 comments - 4485 views -

Indian midwives putting pressure on the abdomen for faster childbirth

Obstetric sighs and screams are coming from the room. Traditional birth attendant is pressing the abdomen of the pregnant woman to hasten the delivery. This is one of many ordinary practices which the Indian midwives use. Many of them do not have enough knowledge and skills for any kind of potential complication during the childbirth. On the contrary, many of them keep the traditional superstitions and methods which more harm than help. Unfortunately, for many women, especially from the Indian rural area, the traditional midwife is the only “skilled” help during the childbirth.

Prejudices and family hinder access to basic health care

One of the world highest maternal mortality is in Indian rural areas. One important reason of this fact is very rare access to basic health care during the pregnancy as well as after the childbirth. During the pregnancy only about 40 % of women have a chance to get some prenatal care. In some rural areas in India the number is lower than 10 %. The reason is not necessarily in the lack of medical centres. The other factors play a bigger role. It is often a case of protesting husband’s family or the husband himself. Also there is a big issue of family’s financial situation as well as the woman’s ignorance and fear that the treatment would be more painful and more dangerous than the health problems themselves.

Unfortunately, these facts have a huge impact on the height of women’s mortality in the connection with pregnancy and childbirth, which is the biggest in the world. “Paradoxically, a considerable number of these women could be saved, because they are suffering from very banal gynaecological and other health problems. Fast medical help or also only awareness would often help,” said Ms. Patel from Indian local NGO.

Cleaning hands training

Bias, fear and financial situation drive many pregnant girls in the hands of midwives. Unfortunately, these ladies do not have enough knowledge, skills and education. They make many hygienic and other mistakes which often generate health complication on the side of the mother or her baby. It can also make them die. It is not only the problem of the abdomen pressing but also of the basic skills which birth attendants should have. Ms Patel brings out examples like disinfection of hands, using gloves during the delivery etc. “These cases are the reason why our organisation trains them in hygiene and sanitation, using gloves and disinfection and explains step by step the procedure of childbirth. Midwife should also be able to give correct information about breast-feeding and care of the new-born baby,” said Ms. Patel. These trainings are very important and useful. It is necessary to realize that 90 % of deliveries are carried out at home and medical centres are mostly excluded from the consequential medical care of mothers with children. An alarming fact is that at the same time a very high number of women in rural areas are affected by some gynaecological problems too as a result of their being ashamed or just not having money to visit the doctor.


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Comments

  • Marianne Diaz on 20th April 2010:

    This is just heartbreaking. Although I know this is how it happens, I can not even start to imagine how this women deal with delivery-related complications. We have (not well supplied) public hospitals here in Venezuela, and poor pregnant women, especially pregnant teenage girls, often lack speciallized medical care during pregnancy, wich tends to make childbirth more complicated and to raise mortality rates. This happens because medical consultation is often not provided, or at least, very difficult to get in public hospitals.
    At least in here, it would be as simple as to improve our public health system. Not so simple, though.


  • Iris Cecilia Gonzales on 20th April 2010:

    Thanks for this post Ladislav. It is a must read as it brings attention to the problems of maternal health care around the globe. Giving birth in a hospital where all the available medical help is difficult enough. What more in a room my a midwife with not enough proper tools and skills to do it? It is heartbreaking.


  • Andrea Arzaba on 20th April 2010:

    I can relate it to my own contry, this happens in rural areas in Mexico too! It is difficult as it is related to culture…and sometimes this might be more important than their own health


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