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Women’S Narrative Life Histories: Implications For Maternal And Child Health In Ladakh

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Chapter Summary

Tsering Dolma had been pregnant eight times, but only five children survived infancy. Infant and child mortality rates in villages throughout the Himalayas are extraordinarily high. Collecting women?s narrative life histories is a first step in understanding maternal and child health in the region. Four key themes emerged from the analysis of these women?s narratives. All four themes were embedded in a wider cultural script that stressed hard work and local values of gaining merit through good works, conflict avoidance and cooperation. Lingshed resident Stanzen Dolma, for example, was twelve years old when her mother died. Life became harder, there was more farm work to do. Division of labour that allocates responsibility for farming primarily to women while men are engaged in other sectors of the economy far from home has resulted in a heavy work burden for women that must be carried until the time of delivery.

Keywords: child health; child mortality; Himalayas; maternal; Tsering Dolma; women?s narratives



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