NEPAL. 2015. MAGNA medical nurse with newborn baby girl in a temporary maternity tent hospital that was built to provide assistance to the eartquake survivors in Bhimtar village, Nepal. Copyright by MAGNA
Life goes on also in the areas stricken by the earthquake in distant parts of the impoverished Nepal. On Thursday MAGNA nurse helped to bring a baby girl into the world in a temporary constructed maternity hospital. The maternity hospital, which was basically a tent with the most basic equipment and materials needed at birth, was built next to health center, where MAGNA currently provides medical and psychosocial care for the population in the district of Sindhupalchowk.
But the newborn girl, still without name, is not a reason for celebration in this part of Nepal. Strong cultural and traditional beliefs attach only a small importance and attention to newborn baby girls. Her importance is even smaller due to her being the fifth baby in the family. The mother does not see a reason to be proud of herself or of her beautiful, strong and healthy baby who entered the world today. These feelings of failure are raised and intensified in the mother from each side – by the family, neighbours, as well as random community members.
The position of girls and women in general is very low in traditional Nepalese communities. Subsequently, their fate is even more problematic: in childhood, lesser health and nutritional care is provided to girls than to boys. Later at school age they are only rarely sent to schools. This part of Nepal is also affected by the presence of human traffickers who abuse the position of girls and women.
In this area our teams of medics, social workers and consultants provide not only medical and psychological care, but they are also trying to address many serious social problems that make life harder for different groups of the population in this area. One such group are young women and girls. In the form of individual consultation- in this particular case stressing the need of regular breastfeeding and good child care but also in the form of group consultations regarding personal safety, we try to inform the wider population about the ability of their community to prevent such cases together and to eliminate them completely.
After the birth of this little girl, our workers believe in better fate for her. The mother began to breastfeed the baby after talks with MAGNA consultant and responded to an advice about childcare with great interest. The talks with MAGNA medics and consultants brought the mother´s joy back joy and gave her the necessary strength needed for the childcare. The little girl now has a name. Her name is Manisha after our nurse who helped to bring her into the world.
Karin Slováková, MAGNA Coordinator in Nepal.