Newborn care: traditional practices in Nepal
Old ways are not always wise ways. Modern expertise can reduce mortality, says Siddhartha Yadav
About 90% of deliveries in Nepal take place at home and only 6% are attended by a skilled health worker.12 This one was no exception. The setting was a shabby hut in a village in the plains, about 10 km away from the nearest town with a hospital. It takes about an hour and half by the fastest means available in the village—the bullock and cart. “This is not the first time we are doing this,” says the local “woman expert” in conducting labour. She smiles, “We will deliver the baby in the usual traditional way.”
The word “traditional” reverberated in my mind. I wondered what the implications might be. What if there was some complication during the delivery? And what about the care of the newborn baby? What if emergency care is needed, as in birth asphyxia, where expert help within a matter of minutes can save life?