Compassion, patience and support – the role of midwives 


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In a community of 3800 households, Mekdes Gizaw plays an important role as a health care provider and educator at Misra Health Center in Bale Zone of Oromia, Ethiopia. As a trained midwife, Mekdes cares for approximately 700 expectant mothers annually. Her days are spent delivering pre and post-natal care for mothers, while providing practical and emotional support for coping with the many changes that occur during and after pregnancy. She also provides care for the baby after birth and emergency support when necessary.

After successfully completing several in-service programs provided through Cuso International, Mekdes can now prevent many of the complications that mothers face during pregnancy and delivery. Training programs include, family planning, basic emergency obstetric and newborn care, compassionate respectful care, referral linkage and coordination system update workshops.

“You must be flexible and prepared to be called at any time,” says Mekdes. “Moreover, you must be compassionate, patient and supportive to woman who are scared as they go through this life-changing experience.” As Cuso International and our partners seek to educate and empower women and communities towards equality, women leaders like Mekdes are the key to making a difference. “All pregnant women should have access to skilled care at the time of birth and after delivery,” says Mekdes. “It prevents complications and even death.”

The Misra Health Center has been challenged by a lack of necessary medical equipment including stretchers, sterilizers and delivery beds. In response to this, the Cuso International Ethiopia Office has supplied the following: Examination lights, blood pressure apparatus, delivery sets, stethoscope, fetoscopes, suction machine, digital thermometer, speculum, ambu-bag (newborn) and more. “These supplies help the trained midwives to provide quality of prenatal and postnatal service for pregnant mothers and their babies and to improve health outcomes for the community,” says Wendwossen Kebede, Cuso International Country Representative, Ethiopia.

“Challenges that we used to face were a lack of awareness of the mother about different services,” says Mekdes . “Many women were cautious of going to the health centre for services like family planning, care before, during and after pregnancy and delivery. They mostly ignored our advice.”

Cuso International’s ability to deploy training and education has provided communities with new hope. “Now, there is hope,” says Mekdes. “Cuso International’s sensitization campaign workshops on reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health issues for women of reproductive age and adolescents through schools has created a big improvement in the awareness of both mothers and also their husbands.”

You can help more women at risk by making a donation today in Mekdes name.