When modernity beats tradition

rosemary_ntoipo
Posted June 27, 2016 from Tanzania

A famous woman to many in her home village in Kimokowua in Tanzania was Anna an old woman. Whenever women especially young women (child mothers) got into labor pain, Anna was the woman most women in the village looked for.

She had no professional skills and knowledge in midwifery. She was illiterate. An unskilled traditional birth attendant. Anna took charge in what she practiced and with so much confidence.

Many women and child mothers visited by her in their homes were mostly in labor pain. They trusted her work and most of them did not attend any hospital or clinic for antenatal checks and advice.

One of her clients was Sambeke’s wife. she was expecting her first born. Anna had visited her to help her like she did to others. She used her hands to tell the position of the child in a womb. Sambeke’s wife was in labor for too long until Anna could be seen worried and troubled. She did not give in to say she couldn’t help her. Anna kept on insisting that she will deliver any time soon. Sambeke’s wife had started becoming weak every minute of the long waiting.

She was taken to a nearby dispensary which was a few metres from their home. When I learned of what was going on I decided to check on Sambeke’s wife condition. She looked quite weak and needed a professional to attend to her. The situation was getting out of hand. A nurse in-charge advised Sambeke to take his wife to a hospital that had better facilities for help. Every time he tried to take his wife, Anna gave him hope that all was well. I thought how terrible it will be like to loose the young woman in such a situation. I talked to Anna to let go Sambeke’s wife to a better facility but she was very adamant.

I thought of what to do next. I bought Anna two kilograms of sugar in a nearby shop in appreciation to her effort. I then urged her to let Sambeke take his wife to hospital. Anna agreed. This was just in time for her operation through caesarean section. Sambeke’s wife delivered a baby boy.

Although traditional midwifery practice has been practiced for so long it is not always the safest way out; as in the case of Sambeke’s wife who represents many women who escape death narrowly. I love some of our traditions and culture but not when it live costing. Like in the case of Sambeke’s wife who narrowly escaped death by Anna heading to my advice.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is one of the reasons for complications women in my community and country face. Most women from the Indigenous / Pastoralist communities undergo FGM. FGM narrows the delivery passage of most women. This complications arising from FGM have caused deaths that many times have gone unreported.

Women like Anna also risk contracting diseases due lack of protective measures. They mainly use bare hands when delivering women although they are advised not to do so by community health officers. We plan to organize training for traditional birth attendants who have not been trained.

Comments 8

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Tamarack Verrall
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Dear Rosemary,

Your quick and determined thinking and action saved a woman's life as well as her child's. You raise such important issues here, the mistrust between traditional midwifery practises and medical availability, and how to bridge the best of intentions and practises within both. Bringing a gift of appreciation was brilliant and compassionate, and training new health methods that address both complications of FGM and previously unknown safety measures that can be taken in helping deliver are such necessary, lifesaving and at the same time respectful actions to offer. This story will surely help other communities facing the same critical problems.

Best wishes in sisterhood,

Tam

rosemary_ntoipo
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Dear Tam,

Am very happy to reconnect again with you here. Absolutely, training new health methods to address the complications are very important. You are right Tam, respectful actions are very important. Respect is something I value so much. Yes, I believe this will help many communities.

Again, thanks Tam.

In sisterhood

Rosemary.

Busayo Obisakin
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Dear Rosemary,

You are so wonderful for taking charge of that situation, your promptness saved the lives of that woman. this is the kind of what our women are facing in the rural places in the developing countries. Many of those traditionalist midwives have become institutions in the villages and you can see the fear in the woman's husband that he did not want to offend the woman even at the expense of his wife's life.

Keep up the good work my sister

Love

Busayo   

rosemary_ntoipo
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Dear Busayo,

Am very happy to reconnect with you here. Thanks a lot. Yes, these are the problems women are facing and yes, like you mentioned traditional midwives have become institutions in the villages. I like that statement. That 's quite analytical. Lets help them.

Thanks a lot my sister,

Lots of love.

Rosemary.

helen.ng
Jun 29, 2016
Jun 29, 2016

Hello Rosemary,

Thank you for sharing your experiences with the community. I'd like to commend your quick thinking and execution of subsequent actions that led to the preservation of a human life. We certainly need more individuals like you in our world. You are a true role model and I hope others aspire to share the same mentality as you. I look forward to hearing more about your work in the near future.

With kindest regards,

Helen Ng

rosemary_ntoipo
Jun 30, 2016
Jun 30, 2016

Dear Hellen Ng,

Thanks a lot. Am very grateful and appreciate all you mentioned. I look forward to connecting with you. Lets keep in touch.

Warmest regards,

Rosemary.

Avera
Jul 21, 2016
Jul 21, 2016

 Hello Rosemary,

              Timely intervention. 

This is a real  challenge in most communities/villages in Sub-Saharan Africa. It's even worse in some communities where a small drug store attendant is considered a medical Doctor and Pharmacist. He consults, prescribes and administers drugs/injections. 

'WHAT RISK'  we take in this beautiful continent of ours!!!

We need to give a lot of trainings to these village / community attendants because,their work can't be taken for granted especially in the absence of a medical team. 

Keep it up dear,

Avera

rosemary_ntoipo
Jul 22, 2016
Jul 22, 2016

Hi Avera,

Thanks a lot. Am very happy to connect with you. Yes, this a real challenge in our communities. Absolutely, a lot of training to the community birth attendants needs to be done to avoid such situations in future.

Again, thanks a lot.

Warmest regards,

Rosemary.