Latin America

Leonora Pocaterrazas and Albina Chambe, Bolivia

"She told me she was in pain. I went to ask my sister for help, when I got back she had already had the baby."
In Bolivia, indigenous tradition often means women give birth at home, fully clothed, squatting on the floor, with only family members to help. When Albina Chambe, 15, went into labour in a poor suburb of La Paz, her fiancé Grover, only 18 himself, wanted to take his wife to a hospital.

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Cristobalina Santos, Panama

"I would have taken her to the hospital if I could."
Nothing has gone right for Severino Caballero since his wife died in childbirth two years ago. Caballero, 55, lives in Quebrada Cañas, a tiny mountain community of the Ngöbe tribe in Panama's predominantly indigenous Chiriquí province. His wife, Cristobalina Santos, developed complications after giving birth to the couple's 12th child, squatting according to tribal tradition on the floor in their straw hut. The placenta did not emerge, and that night Cristobalina developed an aggressive infection.

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