Fatima M., Afghanistan

Fatima's story illustrates the dire consequences a mother's death has for her family and her community. She and her husband Ahmed already had nine children and were barely surviving on his salary as a security guard when she became pregnant again.

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Gul Bano, Pakistan

Like many young girls in her mountainous rural area of Pakistan, Gul Bano was married at the age of 12 and became pregnant right away. She had no antenatal care in her husband's village of Kohadast, in Baluchistan Province, but she was healthy and her family expected no difficulties when she went into labour.

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Sumo.jpgSumo Nayak: India

Here and there in Irukpal, a village in the eastern Indian state of Chhatisgarh, you may notice an odd drawing of a stubby tree on the side of some of the low-roofed houses. On some, the tree is unfinished, the branches and roots still bare. On others, each branch and root is cross-hatched at regular intervals, with nine X's up the trunk.

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