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The greatest gift ca 23 bg4

Maternal healthcare brings light and life to hard places

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Radha’s home is constructed with sticks. Sparse grass thatching lines the roof. There are no walls to protect her and her children from the weather. Living in a rural village in Pakistan, Radha knows the taste of poverty. But it was the fear of enduring childbirth again with complications that caused her the greatest anxiety.

Complications in childbirth can be a death sentence for women. In many of the world’s hardest places, expectant mothers don’t have access to life-saving maternal health care. They don’t have access to basic health checks and education about preventable diseases. In Pakistan, 186 women die for every 100,000 live births compared to Australia’s maternal mortality rate of just five per 100,000.

Radha had experienced complications giving birth to her first two babies, and with limited income and poor access to health care, she was anxious she would experience the same challenges with the birth of her third child: “Due to flood, poor health and diet, and having no money, how could I safely give birth to my third baby?” she asked.

For her third pregnancy, Tearfund’s local Christian partner the Diocese of Hyderabad provided Radha with pre- and post-natal care. A trained traditional birth attendant, Mrs Jiyan, supported her and also arranged for Radha’s husband to access a psychiatrist, as the social pressure of having multiple girls had led to him experiencing mental health challenges.

“I am so glad and thankful to have Mrs Jiyan … who took care of me, provided awareness and support during the labouring period, taking me to health facilities for antenatal and postnatal care,” Radha said. “She proved an angel for me…”.

Radha and her baby girl, who live in a remote part of Pakistan, have been cared for and supported by Mrs Jiyan, a traditional birth attendant.

Life is much easier and I am so glad and thankful.

Radha, Pakistan

At Christmas we celebrate Jesus, the greatest gift. The author of life entered creation as a baby and brought light into darkness. Today, the world’s most vulnerable people face deepening challenges of poverty and injustice: yet into this darkness the light of Jesus still shines.

In him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

John 1:4-5 (NRSV)

Tearfund’s partners are bringing light and life into hard places like Pakistan, Afghanistan, Ethiopia and South Sudan through the maternal health care they provide.

And that light radiates into communities. Radha says that since the Diocese of Hyderabad has been working in their village, many of the women feel more confident, and have also been able to share with others in the community the importance of educating girls.

“Life is much easier and I am so glad and thankful,” she said.

The Greatest Gift

Tearfund Christmas Appeal 2023

Complications in childbirth can be a death sentence for women like Radha, who lives in extreme poverty in rural Pakistan.

Your gift this Christmas will reduce maternal mortality and give babies the best chance at life. Donate now.

can help provide a three-month course of emergency nutrition for a young child at risk of malnutrition.

can help fund birthing kits, pregnancy education and postnatal care.

can help train local health workers to perform basic health checks and educate communities about preventable illnesses.

can help reduce water borne disease in rural villages in Pakistan, through education on safe drinking water, hygiene and sanitation.

Related projects have received support from the Australian Government through the Australian NGO Cooperation Program (ANCP).