Traditional midwives if supported with modern training can make a significant difference to maternal health in India.

By Soma Mukhopadhyay

It was a dark night on 31 December 2011 when our youth were celebrating their New Year’s eve with light and music. Meanwhile, an expectant mother Bina Gyan in Jamespur, a remote village of the Sundarban in West Bengal was eagerly awaiting her delivery. There was no doctor, no nurse, nor any hospital nearby. Bina was suffering from labour pains, with the village midwife and elderly women of her house for company.

A Royal Bengal tiger had wandered into the village from the adjacent jungle just a couple of days ago, and the whole village was gripped with fear.In this situation, who would take the risk of carrying her to the primary health centre across the river by a narrow boat?

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