On maternal health by Madhuri Mahato

Photo: Madhuri Mahato/

Puja Devi Paswan, 33, of Bagahi, Parsa, had a baby two months ago. She lives in a hut with her husband. Her kitchen has the bare minimum–there is a stove in the middle of the room, a bed on the side. What she worries about her pantry–it is running low on basic food supplies. “We don’t have enough to eat, I worry about my baby getting enough nutrition,” Puja says. ⁣

When Nepal went into lockdown to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, Puja’s husband was let go from his job. He worked as a laborer and they were already having a hard time making ends meet. “I hear that the government is distributing relief for poor families like us,” says Puja, “But I don’t have enough to eat to stay strong for my baby.”⁣

Photo: Madhuri Mahato/

Birgunj has allocated Rs 40 million relief for the COVID-19 pandemic, but young mothers like Puja say that they don’t have specific programs for pregnant and new mothers or children under the age of five. “Pregnant, young mothers, women who are breastfeeding and children under the age of five are at extremely high risk of malnutrition during the pandemic and must be prioritized,” says public health expert Rajkumar Mahato⁣

Text and photos: Madhuri Mahato⁣ @mmhisimmy
Copy edit: Nisha Rai⁣ @nishastoryteller
Edit: Mallika Aryal @mikaness

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