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How far would you go?

BY KATHERINE THEN | 21 OCTOBER 2017

For many women who live in developing countries, a lack of geographic access to public health facilities inhibits or often limits use. Medical care can be long distances away especially for a woman with limited resources to attain transport services. In some countries, women walk 8 miles to reach the nearest public health facility, even during labor. At times, childbirth appointments are scheduled in advance to avoid complications and prevent risks to the mother’s and child’s health.

According to UNICEF, “over 800 women are dying each day from complications in pregnancy and childbirth. For every woman who dies, approximately 20 others suffer serious injuries, infections or disabilities. Almost all maternal deaths (99 per cent) occur in developing regions”.

For mothers and expecting mothers, the wait can feel eternal - especially surrounded by the 4 walls of a maternity ward - where approximately 25-30 women wait. Dealing with feelings of pain, uncertainty, and anxiousness.

To put things into perspective, in order to travel to the nearest public clinic, this woman would have to travel by motorbike, the cost of 200 Baht ($6 USD)- equivalent to 13 meals for her child. After traveling 13.6 kilometers, the wait lasted 10 days. Thanks to the Mae Tao Clinic, a public clinic which offers free health care for migrants and refugees, she was able to give birth to her beautiful daughter - weight of 2.6 kilos.

Providing emotional support and connecting her with local resources (transport, nutrition), she is ready to return home with her newborn baby and four year old son. We are very proud of her for her endurance and courage. We met M.A. 9 months ago and have been supporting her by connecting her with local support services and resources, which can be hard to access as a young woman/mother living as a migrant on the border.  

*All names of community members are kept confidential to protect their identity. Permission was obtained to display photos presented.

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