Becoming a mother in Malawi is a dangerous undertaking.
Maternal Mortality, often used as a thermometer for the wellbeing of a healthcare system, is shockingly high. With 806 maternal deaths per 100,000 births, midwives face almost impossible challenges. Malaria, inaccessible locations, and Aids all contribute to Malawi’s halting progress in meeting the Millennium goals.
Emmy Chilalika is a rural Midwife - located 50 miles from the nearest district hospital, in the small village of Nsiya Ludzu. After many of her colleagues left to work in the UK, she looks after about 30,000 people. She was too old and to make the leap, and has more patients than she can deal with.
A tour of her facilities confirms that the joy that normally accompanies childbirth is not guaranteed round here. But there is a stoic humanity about her, she deals with her scared, shocked, and sometimes delirious patients with firm and caring hands.
"We see a lot of death," she says. But for a moment the darkness lifts "Last night there were four women here giving birth… Imagine, and no problems".
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