Every single day 1.000 women die in child labor or from pregnancy related conditions. 99 percent of these women are living in the development world.

Looking only a few years back, Nepal had one of the highest rates of maternal deaths in the world. Realizing the disaster, Nepal stepped up to save its women, young mothers and children.
A small effort quickly made a huge impact – inspiring the rest of the developing world.

She misses her mother. Tara Lama is only 17 years old. Too small, too young and too afraid to lie alone on a bench in a dirty, damp and scarcely lighted delivery room at the hospital in Hetauda, Nepal. Only a child herself, she is about to go through one of the most dangerous situations for young women in the poorest countries; giving life to a child of her own.

Tara is one of the lucky ones. She is in a hospital, watched by trained nurses. It barely happens in the rich part of the world anymore, but every year 350.000 girls and women in the poorest developing countries die during labor or due to pregnancy related illnesses and accidents. Ten years ago the world leaders in UN pledged to bring down the half million maternal deaths seen every year by 75 percent. Ten years later the status is bleak. Maternal death is bound to become the Millennium Development Goals’ biggest failure.

Still 1.000 women die every day. Many die at home, alone. From bleeding, from infections and failed illegal abortions. At such a rate that pregnancy is the leading cause of death of underage girls in African countries. It leaves behind thousands of motherless children and torn families. Realizing the disaster, Nepal decided a few years ago to try and save it’s women, young mothers and children.

Tara Lama gives birth to a healthy seven pounds boy. When leaving the hospital she can collect 12 USD; money which the states gives to all women who come to the hospital for a safer labor.
80-90 percent of Nepali children were born at home ten years ago. Now 40 pct of women choose to go to the hospital.

The tiny nation of Nepal has according to recent UN numbers become the leading light in the fight against global maternal deaths and child deaths. The solution is very cheap, but yet globally a lot of interventions are halted by taboo, religion and the unwillingness to talk about female sexuality and contraception.

Interviews and research in collaboration with Line Holm Nielsen

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