In Silence: Maternal Mortality in India

In Silence: Maternal Mortality in India

The tragic and unnecessary death of a woman in childbirth is a frequent occurrence in rural India. (Magnum)

Kirin Nadav most probably would have survived the “bleed-out” she suffered giving birth to her son had proper medical care been available in her rural village in India. Instead, she died leaving behind a heartbroken husband, two other children and an infant who will do without maternal care. Magnum photographer Susan Meiselas tells the story of this unfortunate woman and her family with poignant images of the well-meaning people who loved Kirin and tried to save her to no avail. Her story is an example of the over half million women who die unnecessarily in childbirth each year around the world, twenty percent of whom are in India.

Kirin’s death had a ripple effect on her village, where she had cooked and taken care of the children while the women of her extended family farmed. They are angry, and demand justice, but medical providers at the clinic where Kirin was treated claim that little can be done when doctors and supplies are in such short supply. The vibrant colors of the clothing the women wear are in harsh contrast to the stark poverty all around them. Presented in a flashback sequence beginning with the site of Kirin’s cremation, the multimedia “essay” expertly uses ambient sound to add texture and simple subtitles to tell the story.

CHANNEL: Magnum Photos

Length: 5:19

Photographer: Susan Meiselas
Reporter: Dumeetha Luthra
Produced by Jessie Graham for Human Rights Watch


No Tally of the Anguish

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