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Sukmaya Gurung

Breech births, if not delivered from a caesarean section, can have fatal consequences for the mother’s child. This is a common problem for many women around the world; at 36 weeks pregnancy trained medical professionals, such as obstetricians, can offer external cephalic version (ECV) treatment that attempts to turn the baby around to the correct position prior to birth. For women in Nepal, there are many barriers that prevent access to this vital healthcare treatment. Firstly, for isolated communities across Nepal, the journey to effective medical facilities with professional staff can be an arduous and costly journey. Secondly, local health-post workers often have limited training in breech birth delivery that cannot support women to safe delivery if their child in the breech position. Thirdly, the lack of education in isolated communities means that often rural women are unaware of the benefits to healthcare check ups that can prevent complicated births, such as breech births. For many Nepalese women, breech births are an incredibly difficult experience that they face alone. These are just three of the potential barriers that prevent vital access to healthcare treatment.

In order to tackle this problem, as part of PHASE’s health projects, local community health post workers have received training in supporting and delivering breech births. PHASE have provided training sessions and employment to local health workers to become PHASE Auxillary Nurse Midwifes (ANMs). The story of Sukmaya Gurung and her experience of child birth highlights the desperate need for better healthcare access and services for isolated communities in Gorkha. Sukmaya lives in Sridibas Village and during the latter half of her pregnancy, a PHASE ANM identified her baby was in breech position. The PHASE ANMs eased Sukmaya’s concerns and fears of her child’s safety, seeing her every week up until the due date. When the time came, a neighbour to Sukmaya walked for an hour and half to notify the PHASE ANMs, the ANMs then instantly travelled to the aid of Sukmaya. Through their training and commitment to help those in need, the ANMs were able to successfully deliver Sukmaya’s child. After giving birth, Sukmaya was able to hold her healthy son in her arms. It is important that this work continues, and more isolated villages can receive healthcare support that can mean the difference between life and death for isolated families in Nepal.

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25 Apr 24

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One of the districts most severely affected by the 2015 earthquakes. Combined with Sindhupalchok, 40% of deaths caused by the earthquake occurred across the two districts. Gorkha is primarily a rural municipality, with a population of around 32,500 people.

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