Stories: Maternal Health

  • Fighting to Breathe in Mongolia

    It’s September, the morning after the first snowfall of the season, and Otgontuuya already knows that winter will be brutal. She sits on a pink plastic chair in her living room, takes off her thick jacket and breast-feeds her crying toddler. She has just gotten home, having walked across the uneven dirt roads overlooking the city, where the...

  • In South Sudan, Pregnancy Brings Risks

    South Sudan has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the world. Women across the country have extremely limited access to health facilities, a situation exacerbated by the ongoing conflict. For every 100,000 births, more than 2,000 pregnant women die due to complications during childbirth. Benedict Moran reported from South Sudan on a grant from the International Reporting Project, an independent...

  • Why Brazil Loves Breastfeeding

    The other day here, I saw something I rarely encounter back home in Washington. A young woman holding a toddler sat down at the table next to me at a boardwalk cafe. When the little boy got fussy, she tugged down her tank top and fed him in plain view of one of Rio’s largest thoroughfares. No blanket....

  • Meeting Mothers at the Center of Ecuador’s HIV Prevention Efforts

    I have now been in Ecuador for two weeks on a trip made possible by the International Reporting Project. I have visited coffee and cacao farms, health projects, and sites of oil contamination. I have visited with NGO leaders and government ministers. This week, I managed to meet up with World Pulse member Diana, an inspiring role model...

  • Breaking the News to Children Living With HIV: A Nonprofit Takes the Lead in Ecuador

    Jean's book of heroes occupies pride of place at a clinic run by Fundacion VIHDA, a non-profit working to prevent transmission of HIV from mother to child in Ecuador's largest city, Guayaquil. One would expect illustrations of princes to jump out of the pages of her book. Instead, there are handmade drawings of her grandmother. Since her mother'...

  • The Plastic Pouch That Stops HIV

    The waiting room in Ecuador’s Enrique Sotomayor hospital has the feel of a Department of Motor Vehicles: chimes going off every minute to summon the next patient in line, benches crammed with pregnant women and their families, and peeling paint under fluorescent lights. The noisy hallways in the largest maternity hospital in South America lead past a courtyard...

  • Nepal’s Earthquake Babies Offer Rare Glimpse of Hope

    Ranjita Shreshta’s firstborn was given a head start on life: the baby girl was born hours before a devastating earthquake wreaked havoc in the Nepali capital, leaving her parents homeless but impressed by their daughter’s tenaciousness. “In years to come, I will tell her, ‘You were given a life when others had theirs taken...

  • How Filipino Moms Endure a Maternity Ward That’s Like ‘a Blaring Supermarket Deli Counter’

    A new mom and baby at Fabella Hospital's crowded maternity ward. Photo: Sonia Narang Anne Bailey: Was this your first time in the Philippines? Sonia Narang: Yes. I've reported in other parts of Asia before, including Japan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and China, but never in the Philippines. Interestingly, all my neighbors were Filipino and...

  • A Night In São Paulo’s Crackland

    Priscila Carolino was nearly due with her fifth child when she sauntered into the public hospital for her weekly checkup. Fidgety and talkative, she quickly made her presence known in the waiting room, asking to touch other patients' pregnant bellies and inquiring about their love lives. After her visit, unhappy with her doctor's recommendations, Carolino yelled across the room,...

  • Persistence Pays Off: How Health Workers Are Saving Their Communities

    Baby Ava* is HIV-positive. Her mother was frightened and in denial about her own HIV diagnosis so she dropped out of treatment early in the process. Ava’s mother is the second wife of her father. He works in the mines in South Africa and tragically brought more than his salary home to the family. Both wives have...