Bali midwife wins CNN’s
Hero of the Year

JP/Luh De Suriyani
JP/Luh De Suriyani

Hemmerle Robin Teresa Jehle, known as Robin Lim, was named the 2011 CNN Hero of the Year on Sunday night local time (Monday morning Jakarta time).

Lim, an American woman, was awarded the title for her dedication to helping thousands of poor Indonesian women have healthy pregnancies and births, CNN’s official website (www.cnn.com) announced.

Lim, who runs the Yayasan Bumi Sehat health clinic, has spent decades in Bali teaching how gentle birth and exclusive breastfeeding are crucial for the growth and development of babies.

She gathered public support to educate young midwives responsible for mothers and newborn babies, not only in medical treatment but also through affection and non-discriminatory services.

"Every baby's first breath on Earth could be one of peace and love. Every mother should be healthy and strong. Every birth could be safe and loving. But our world is not there yet," Lim was quoted by CNN as saying during "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," which took place at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles and recognized her and the other top 10 CNN Heroes of 2011.

According to the International Monetary Fund as quoted by CNN, the average family in Indonesia earns around US$8 a day, but a baby delivery costs more than $70 at a hospital, and a Caesarian section can cost as much as $700.

"The situation is bad ... babies are unattended, deliveries have become commercialized, and mothers die from hemorrhage after childbirth because they can't afford proper care," Lim told CNN earlier.

Lim, who was chosen Hero of the Year through a 11-week public voting on the website, will receive $250,000 for her cause, in addition to the $50,000 that each of all of the top 10 Heroes received for making the finalists, CNN reported.

Millennium Development Goals (MDG) data from Bali’s provincial development agency showed that the infant mortality rate in Bali was 34 per 1,000 lives, while the MDG target is 24 per 1,000, expected to be achieved by 2015.

Regencies with high infant mortality rates in Bali are Karangasem and Jembrana, both above the national rate of 36 per 1,000.

According to the data, the most common cause of infant deaths is low birth weight, accounting for 41 percent or 188 cases, followed by pneumonia and asphyxia.

The MDG data only showed the infant mortality rate in 2007, which is 228 per 100,000 live births, while the MDGs target is 100 per 100,000.

The percentage of mothers giving birth with the help of trained medical officers is 96 percent, but there are disparities among regencies.

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