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A Little Training...

...can go a LONG way!

Helping others help themselves: Area native works in Uganda says:

Maxensia, who left school at 13, learned from her mother how to deliver babies, and for many years she delivered about 20 babies a year, with about five newborns dying during or after childbirth. When MIHV (Minnesota International Health Volunteers) came to her village, it trained traditional birth attendants, including her, to provide antenatal care, check fetal position and monitor for potentially complicated deliveries that should be referred to the hospital. Maxensia now knows to begin CPR on an infant in fetal distress. Last year, Maxensia delivered 70 infants and lost just one.

(end quote)

I often have serious issues about going into other countries and foisting our ways on them, but this seems different than Christianity. How cool would it be to have a mission like this - AND to learn things from the traditional birth attendants in the other countries? I think it would be way cool.

Reader Comments (8)

This seems like a great way to start addressing such a huge problem--work with local, community-based birth attendants and provide simple skills that will make a dramatic difference in infant & maternal survival.

And the MN volunteer is from my home town!!

January 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRixa

this is an awesome thing. another similar program that is out of funding for now, is called midwives for midwives (http://www.midwivesformidwives.org/)
the cool thing about them, is that after the village midwives have gotten their certificate (the same stuff you were talking about in uganda) they send american midwifery apprentices to live with the midwives in teh mountains and learn from them. i think thats fricken awesome.

January 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterconnie


It's a good idea. One researcher here has done work with providing training for TBAs in Bangladesh. But it was completely unsuccessful in their case. Apparently, in patriarchal areas where women's movements are very restricted, these newly trained TBAs had difficulty getting to their clients and having the freedom to transport to the hospital in cases of complications. So now their program has shifted to focusing on the hospital facility rather than the training of TBAs.

Kind of seems backwards for midwives, huh? The phenomenon is interesting and warrants more research, I'd imagine.

January 26, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterEmory Student Midwife

This is wonderful! I agree that "missionary" type work always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, but there is nothing bad about teaching Third World midwives how to save more babies! HURRAY!

January 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJill

I am an NYC based midwife but have spent a significant portion of my career working in Uganda and Ghana with TBA's. (A lot of my blog entries from June and July of this year are stories of birth in Uganda). There is a fine line between dialogue/exchange of practices and what I consider to be a colonial mentality of 'west is best'- an issue that plagues many of the under-resourced refugee camps in Uganda. I am not sure how to handle that line except to acknowledge it and keep on working with women, for women.....
Thanks for posting about this.

January 27, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRachel

How much do I love that this is a Minnesotan organization!

January 28, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMadelene

That is so cool! I have been daydreaming lately about doing something birth related in my dh's home country (Ethiopia). I would very much like to find some way provide training for local midwives and provide a safe, clean, comfortable place for births to happen, but one that is not Westernized, intervention dependent, or based on Western cultural ideas.

My husband had OB nursing during his training there and didn't like the hospital delivery practices at all. He was horrified and enraged when we had our first child here in the States to find that all the interventions he'd hated there (which he viewed as borderline abusive) actually came from the "Great" United States. He'd thought that such a great country would surely have better birth practices, particularly in hospitals!

February 5, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCappuccinosmom

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