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First Particular person: Ladies in Madagascar too ashamed to hunt assist giving delivery

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The predominantly rural area of Androy has been beset by a sequence of humanitarian crises which have affected essentially the most susceptible folks there, together with mothers-to-be, nonetheless the supply of straightforward, cheap maternity kits is encouraging extra ladies to entry a variety of companies that can assist maintain them and their infants wholesome.

Forward of the Worldwide Day of the Midwife, celebrated yearly on 5 Might, Jeanne Bernadine Rasoanirina, a midwife in Behara, in Androy, spoke to UN Information’s Daniel Dickinson concerning the challenges of reaching the poorest ladies.

“This can be a very poor rural space, and many ladies are too ashamed to come back to the well being centre to have their infants delivered as a result of they don’t even have the cash for transport or to purchase clear fabric by which to wrap their new child. They don’t need different folks to know they’re poor.

A baby is weighed at the primary health care centre in Behara.

The mothers-to-be who come right here get all of the assist they should give delivery, and it’s freed from cost, due to the federal government in addition to UN businesses, together with [the UN reproductive health agency] UNFPA.[The UN Children’s Fund] UNICEF and the World Meals Programme (WFP) present necessary diet recommendation and assist, which enhances our work and is crucial to preserving moms and their kids wholesome.

Regardless that I’ve finished this job for 19 years, it nonetheless actually saddens me when ladies arrive who don’t have the means to take care of themselves. They might be carrying soiled garments, which is an indication of poverty, but in addition a lack of awareness or respect for cleanliness.

Within the final week, I’ve delivered three infants and over the previous month, I attended over 330 antenatal and postnatal consultations, so there’s undoubtedly a requirement for companies.

Jeanne Bernadine Rasoanirina sits at her desk with the recently delivered maternity kits.

Jeanne Bernadine Rasoanirina sits at her desk with the lately delivered maternity kits.

Maternity kits

I believe extra ladies will likely be inspired to come back to the well being centre, as yesterday we had a supply of 240 maternity kits [supported by UNFPA] for the primary time in over a yr, which can final about three months.

The kits embody all the pieces a mom wants to present delivery – gloves, gauze, umbilical wire clip and a syringe for the supply after which fabric wraps and garments by which to decorate the newborn. They may take away the disgrace that moms really feel.

It’s irritating that now we have not had a constant provide as this small merchandise could make an enormous distinction. It means extra ladies will come to our well being centre, which is a safer place to present delivery. In 2023, we had solely profitable births; there have been no deaths. We don’t know what number of ladies gave delivery at dwelling nor what number of kids and moms died because of this. There’s undoubtedly a danger of loss of life if a girl doesn’t come right here to ship her child.


There are nonetheless many cultural obstacles to protected childbirth within the south of Madagascar. Kids are thought-about an indication of wealth, even when households don’t have the means to take care of them correctly, so it is not uncommon to have many kids, typically as many as 10.

Polygamy can be practiced, and a few males have as much as 5 wives and wish to have kids with all of them. We offer info right here and provide coaching about these points, however we should at all times be delicate concerning the native tradition.”


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