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A Child LostMichael Glenwood

A Child Lost

The mother’s water broke eight days before she delivered the child.

The Shaman came [before the delivery], gave her an amulet and performed exorcism. He put some sort of nasha [intoxicant] material on her nose and said that if the night passes without any difficulty then the child would survive. On the next day, the child was delivered. The child died one hour after birth. The mother was very ill at the time she delivered the child. As she was ill, hands were inserted to take out the child. The child was not fed anything after birth, not even her mother’s milk.

After birth, to save the child, she was blown in the mouth, the umbilicus was milked… [The mother] was eight months pregnant at the time of delivery. Right after birth, the child cried in a low voice but did not stir. The child died [while] being blown in the mouth.

Editor’s note: Originally written in Bangla, this is an excerpt of a narrative written by a female data collector. She conducted the verbal autopsy interview with the parents of the infant following the report of a neonatal death in rural Gaibandha, Bangladesh, as part of the 2002–2007 JiVitA study. From this narrative, a physician would likely infer preterm birth, with possible premature rupture of membranes, followed by a complicated delivery leading to trauma and early neonatal death, according to Parul Christian, DrPH ’96, MPH ’92, MSc.


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