Another bizarre MP story:
Apparently, in some tribal hamlets, a dai (mid-wife) and only the dai, is allowed to cut the umblical chord.
Even if a birth is not attended by a dai, the newly-delivered baby and the just-having-delivered mother stay connected, until some dai arrives from a neighbouring village or a health centre. If it takes three days, so be it....
However, there just aren't enough mid-wives to go around (on record, there are 493, in one of the districts that has 608 villages... I can bet anything you like that there aren't as many on the ground).
In fact, in September last year, a pregnant woman had to be taken to the district hospital, 70 kilometres away, perched on a bicycle. She delivered twins there, one of whom died. After they returned to the village, the mother died as well.
Little wonder then, that maternal mortality in this state is as high as 398. That's almost 400 women dying for every 1000 births.
In fact, 2005 is supposed to be the 'Make every mother and child count' year, says the World Health Organisation. But as counts go, it seems to be more a body-count than anything else. According to the WHO, world-wide, half a million women die during childbirth each year. And that one million kids are left motherless. These kids are thrice as likely (three to ten times as likely, actually) to die before they are two years old.
PS: On second thoughts, I do not want to be born as a tribal in my next life.