Health: To ensure that every mother, especially illiterate mothers, have the right information when it comes to taking care of the baby and herself during and after pregnancy, a mothers’ class was conducted at Royal Institute of Health and Sciences (RIHS) in Thimphu, yesterday.

Conducted by volunteers from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the class was conducted for the second year batch of health assistants studying at RIHS.

Kera Tomomi from JICA, said, that it’s important that an illiterate mother understand the medical terms related to pregnancy and child birth so that she will have a safe pregnancy.

“There are danger signs of pregnancy that a mother should be aware of,” Kera Tomomi said. “If a pregnant mother faces any of the danger signs, then it is important for them to know what should be done during that moment.”

Some of the danger signs during pregnancy includes an absence of movement of the baby in the womb and bleeding during pregnancy, and the baby suffering from high fever and jaundice after pregnancy, among others.

“If a mother is not aware that her baby hasn’t moved inside her womb for more than two hours, then there is a high risk of losing the baby,” Kera Tomomi said.

Most illiterate pregnant women are not aware of such danger signs of pregnancy, therefore it is here that the health assistants come to play an important role to save the mother and child, Kera Tomomi said.

“The students, after they are posted in different dzongkhags, can educate illiterate pregnant mothers about danger signs during and after pregnancy during mother’s class,” Kera Tomomi said.

Some of the lecturers at RIHS and Kera Tomomi also acted out the danger signs pregnant mothers face during and after pregnancy and how a health assistant can play their role.

“We are planning to collaborate with the health ministry and come up with guidelines on mothers’ class so that it is conducted in every dzongkhag and every basic health unit,” Kera Tomomi said.

A health assistant, Tshering Zangmo, 21, said it is important that every pregnant mother is mentally prepared when it come to some of the danger signs of pregnancy.

“We knew the importance of conducting mothers’ class to prevent complications in the future,” Tshering Zangmo said.

According to the World Health Organisation, Bhutan’s maternal mortality rate stood at 900 deaths per 100,000 live births in 1990, which was drastically reduced to 120 deaths per 100,000 live births in 2013.

Thinley Zangmo