Midwife who runs free health clinics wins CNN Hero of the Year

LOS ANGELES - American Robin Lim who has helped poor Indonesian women to have have healthy pregnancies and births, has been named by CNN on Sunday as their 2011 Hero of the Year.

According to CNN, through her Yayasan Bumi Sehat health clinics, Robin Lim offers free care -- pre-natal, birthing services and medical care -- that many families cannot afford. She is known to the locals as 'Ibu Robin' (Mother Robin) as a result.

The report said that many women in developing countries have no access to contraception or maternal care.

In Indonesia, the average family earns about US$8 a day, according to figures from the International Monetary Fund. But the cost of delivering a baby can go up to as much as US$700, the report added.

It said Lim believes that Indonesia's high maternal- and infant-mortality rates are partly caused by these high costs which many women cannot afford.

An earlier CNN report elaborated that becoming a midwife was not something Lim had planned for until several personal tragedies happened to her.

In a year, she lost her best friend, one of her midwives and her sister who died of birthing complications. Her sister's child did not survive as well.

After the incident, rather than staying angry, Lim and her husband moved from Hawaii to Bali to become 'part of the solution', CNN reported.

The CNN Hero of the Year is chosen by the public after an 11-week vote on CNN.com. For being named, Lim will get US$250,000 to help her cause.  This is in addition to the US$50,000 that the top 10 Heroes receive for making it to the top 10 list.

The CNN Hero of the Year is in its fifth annual installment, honouring everyday people who changed the world, the report said.