Nestled into the foothills of the Himalayas, the Baglung District of Nepal is a three-hour drive on a semi-paved road from Pokhara the second largest city in Nepal. However, the district headquarters in Baglung Bazaar is where the sort of paved road ends and this story begins. The maternal mortality rate for Baglung District was 399/100,000 in 2010, only three years later in 2013 the maternal mortality rate would be recorded as 43/100,000. The following photographic documentation follows that journey to better health care. Starting in the District Hospital, the main source of critical care for the 324,000 people of Baglung District, you witness the drastic change three years has on the hospital. Travelling to the villages of Resha, Lekhani, Narayansthan and Batakachaur you will meet the Foot Soldiers of this health care revolution, the Female Community Health Workers. These women are all volunteers who have been selected by the mothers of their community to represent them and receive training from the government in partnership with the International Non-Profit organization, One Heart World-Wide. From here the story takes us farther from the epicentre in Baglung, to the villages of Pandavkhani, Hatiya, and Gwalichaur to meet the Skilled Birth Attendants who are performing deliveries in small birthing centers in order to prevent woman giving birth alone at home.
Emerging documentary photographer, Kelly McIlvenny, presents this investigation into the roles woman have played, as agents of medical intervention, in producing Nepal’s successful reduction in maternal deaths over the past twenty years, exploring how is this result attained within the constraints of the physical, cultural and social environments of Nepal.
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