The Whitebox Gallery

Client The Whitebox Gallery

Nestled into the foothills of the Himalayas, the Baglung District of Nepal is a three-hour drive on a semi-paved road from Pokhara the second largest city in Nepal. However, the district headquarters in Baglung Bazaar is where the sort of paved road ends and this story begins. The maternal mortality rate for Baglung District was 399/100,000 in 2010, only three years later in 2013 the maternal mortality rate would be recorded as 43/100,000. The following photographic documentation follows that journey to better health care. Starting in the District Hosptial, the main source of critical care for the 324,000 people of Baglung District, you witness the drastic change three years has on the hospital. Travelling to the villages of Resha, Lekhani, Narayansthan and Batakachaur you will meet the Foot Soldiers of this health care revolution, the Female Community Health Workers. These women are all volunteers who have been selected by the mothers of their community to represent them and receive training from the government in partnership with the International Non-Profit organization, One Heart World-Wide. From here the story takes us farther from the epicentre in Baglung, to the villages of Pandavkhani, Hatiya, and Gwalichaur to meet the Skilled Birth Attendants who are performing deliveries in small birthing centres in order to prevent woman giving birth alone at home.

Emerging documentary photographer, Kelly McIlvenny, presents this investigation into the roles woman have played, as agents of medical intervention, in producing Nepal’s successful reduction in maternal deaths over the past twenty years, exploring how is this result attained within the constraints of the physical, cultural and social environments of Nepal.

Returning to Nepal after the 25 April 2015 earthquake that killed over 8,000 people and destroyed over 500,000 homes, Kelly documented how One Heart is working to make sure the preventable maternal and newborn deaths do not happen. Providing tents to use as safe-birthing centres in the villages of Dhading and Sindupalchowk districts most affected by the earthquake, and replacing the necessary medical supplies lost in the earthquake and aftershocks. This project continues to support One Heart World-Wide and all their efforts. If you would like to leave a small donation please place it in the box below, or visit to find out more.