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Health Workers Seek Bridge Between Midwives, Clinics

Although traditional birthing methods are still practiced across the country, leading to high infant mortality, health workers are seeking to improve a mother and newborn's odds through educating mothers and midwives.

Accurate information and a skilled midwife can greatly improve a mother's chances of healthy delivery, health workers say.

Sol Sovath, a coordinator of the Reproductive and Child Health Alliance in Kampot province, said the group is seeking to build a relationship between traditional midwives and local health centers "so that they are able to send pregnant women to the centers and district hospitals."

"By doing this, we can get these traditional midwives to explain to pregnant women how to reduce traditional birthing methods, such as warming up the body with fire after delivering baby or being on diet during pregnancy or after the delivery," Sol Sovath said.

Oum Moeu, a mother of five in Kampot province, said she uses a traditional midwife, but has come around to believing in modern facilities as well.

"I had all five of my children delivered by our traditional midwife," she told VOA Khmer. "I didn't know anything about the consequences. I dared not eat anything against the midwife's advice on diet. Now that I've got the necessary information and gone to the hospital, and eat enough, I am very healthy. And now that I see my own daughter has gone to the hospital and is healthy, I completely believe in it."