Maternal Health

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The “bead game” was designed to address some of the pressure women in certain cultures feel to give birth to boy children, and reduce the stigma placed upon women who give birth to girls.

With the help of two colored beads representing the X and Y chromosomes, the game demonstrated how the sex of a child is determined.

The key point, that it is a chromosome from the man that determines the sex of the child, was overwhelmingly popular with the women, who said they were often blamed by their husbands or families if they did not produce a baby boy.

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An intercultural approach to fighting poverty is complex. When dealing with indigenous people, it often goes beyond language to include a respect for local customs and traditions.

In western cultures, white is associated with cleanliness, but in rural Ayachucho, Peru, white is the color of death.

With a maternal mortality rate of 240 per 100,000 mothers, CARE was desperate to find ways to encourage indigenous mothers to seek care at local health clinics.

So we stripped white sheets off of the beds in the clinics and replaced them with pink ones.

The result?

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Thanks to the Join My Village maternal health program in India, women like Seema are learning about prenatal care and safe births in their local villages. This program from Join My Village – a Merck, General Mills and CARE partnership – is aimed at building stronger communities through healthier pregnancies.

Seema doesn’t know the exact year of her birth – she’s in her mid-twenties – or the number of years she has been married.