Mana Maya* went into labor just before dawn in a small Nepali mountain village in the Himalayas. Alone at home with her mother-in-law and three small children, Mana Maya gave birth to a baby girl before complications set in. Her husband, a migrant worker, was not there when she began to bleed heavily. It was up to her elderly mother-in-law to walk the narrow track to the village to find two men to help carry her on a stretcher to the nearest health facility some 10 kilometers away.
Four hours later they arrived at the clinic where the only nurse on duty was unable to help her. Instead, she was referred to yet another facility. On the way, Mana Maya became one of the an estimated 1,200 Nepali women — almost three a day — who perish each year during childbirth.