When a baby is born in rural Nepal, its severed umbilical cord is commonly tied with a thread of raw cotton. In many cultures, the cord stump is also rubbed with ash, oil, butter, spices, mud or even dung. Throughout the developing world, birth attendants with unwashed hands use dirty knives, scissors, razor blades or broken glass to cut the cord. Freshly cut umbilical cords are attractive breeding grounds for bacteria, and such practices are a major reason why the biggest threat to newborn babies in the developing world is infection.
from Scientific American Content: Global http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=antiseptic-saves-newborn-lives