By Bad Seed
This year, UNICEFs flagship report, The State of the Worlds Children launched on 15 January addresses the need to close one of the greatest health divides between industrialized and developing countries: maternal mortality. Here is one in a series of related stories.
By Guy Degen
BISHKEK, Kyrgyzstan, 15 January 2009 In a small delivery room at Kyrgyzstan's National Maternal and Child Health Centre, Nargiza Umuralieva is in labour, awaiting the birth of her second child. Her sister Jibek is there for help and support. She quietly massages Nargiza's hand.
The 23-year-old can choose any position for delivery, from the traditional Kyrgyz method of standing with a cotton rope for support to using a large, inflatable rubber ball. Partner-assisted and free-position deliveries are new birth practices in Kyrgyzstan, only recently introduced in hospitals.
'More like a mother'
Across Kyrgyzstan, better hygiene, skin-to-skin contact immediately after birth and exclusive breast feeding are becoming standard practices. These are just some of the ways hospitals and clinics certified by UNICEF as 'baby friendly' are providing a continuum of care for mothers and newborns.
Aizat Tailobaeva, 26, who has just delivered her second child across the hall from Nargiza, says the modern birth practices make her feel more like a mother.
In this video, UNICEF correspondent Elizabeth Kiem reports on the need to invest in maternal and newborn health.
To read the full story, visit: http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/kyrgyzstan_47186.html