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Sep 5, 2017

Back in the villages

Mrs Siza (right) during training
Mrs Siza (right) during training

“I grew up in a small village where there were no doctors, hospitals, nurses or midwives. I never had the chance to go to school. I lost my husband when he was young, so I had to work alone on my farm to look after my children. I have also worked in the community as a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) for over 30 years and have delivered hundreds of babies in the surrounding villages. However, I had little knowledge of how the body works and what actually happens during childbirth.There have been many complications during deliveries and at times I was fearful.”


Mrs Siza, 52 from Matupi Township, is well renown for her experience in supporting mothers during childbirth. Invited to the very first training course that we ran, she enjoyed herself so much that she requested to come again, and again. She has now attended the last five training sessions!


“The training has been more than I could have imagined. I was able to compare what I was taught with my experiences. I easily picked up the new skills such as hand washing, skin to skin contact, resuscitation, preventing excessive bleeding, breastfeeding, and how to measure blood pressure and temperature. I am so grateful for the knowledge that I have received. I feel so proud. Now, whenever there is a complication during delivery or with a new-born baby, I remember what I have been taught and am excited to perform the practices I have learnt. Since receiving the training I have found that skin to skin contact has helped me solve so many problems women face post-delivery. Through the practice of breastfeeding I see and hear many babies become more calm and remain healthy.”


Having travelled back to her village from the TBA training, Mrs Siza heard about a women who had been in labour for three days. Three nurses from Matupi hospital tried to help her but the baby’s shoulder was stuck and they could not deliver the baby. Eventually, the husband sent someone with a motorbike to ask Mrs Siza for help.


“It was a full day’s journey from my village to where this lady was. As soon as I heard the news I prepared myself to go and arrived there at 9pm the same evening. In the beginning, I was very nervous, because of the three government nurses.  They were surrounding her and trying to help. However, I saw the mother’s pain and tiredness and felt very sorry for her. The nurses nally said that they could not do anything more, that she and the baby would die, so I asked them to please leave her, and let me see if I could help. When I realised the baby’s shoulder was stuck the lessons I had practiced during the TBA training from Health and Hope came to my mind. It was so clear. I did as we had learnt and the baby came out so quickly. Both mother and baby were happy within just a few minutes and the nurses were amazed and curious about where I had learnt this technique! The mother was crying and all of them were so happy and amazed. I thank God, Health & Hope and the TBA trainers from the UK, otherwise surely this women and her baby would have both died.”
 

We were so excited to hear Mrs Siza’s testimony and delighted that she had been able to put into practice all that she had learnt. Thank you to all who have been involved in fundraising for this project, we are so grateful for your ongoing support.

TBAs returning to their villages after training
TBAs returning to their villages after training

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Sep 5, 2017

Quick Update - Rebuilding of Training Facility

Dismantling the old Training Centre
Dismantling the old Training Centre

The local community were so moved by the loss of the training centre in Lailenpi that they have come out in force to help clear the land in preparation for rebuilding. 

The first wave of villagers supported dismantling of the old buildings and salvaging of key materials during June and July. Timber will be reused for furniture making, while the corrugated sheets were used to erect a temporary kitchen. 

With support from appeal funding raised in the UK, local masons were employed in Lailenpi to start the long process of preparing building materials from the local hillside.  Heavy machinery was hired in July and August to start terracing the land in lieu of laying foundations once further funding has been raised. 

This critical project supports the redevelopment of our training facility post destruction caused by Cyclone Mora.  The rebuilding project will see the construction of a cyclone-proof training centre, office and dormitory building which will support our ongoing projects in health, education and food security across western Chin State.

Dismantling the dormitory post cyclone Mora
Dismantling the dormitory post cyclone Mora
Site Clearance
Site Clearance
The incredible masons hard at work
The incredible masons hard at work
Results of the masons hard labour
Results of the masons hard labour
Terracing of the land almost complete
Terracing of the land almost complete
Jun 6, 2017

Stories of hope from our Traditional Birth Attendant training

Frances and Maaike in mid-training
Frances and Maaike in mid-training

“I never hoped or expected that I would have the opportunity to attend such professional training... Before, we didn’t even know how important it was to wash our hands! Now, the hardest and most difficult parts of childbirth have become simple and less stressful for me. I feel so much more confident.”  Hlau, Traditional Birth Attendant 

Frances and Maaike, our two specialist trainers from Birthlink UK, have just returned from Chin State, Burma, brimming with excitement about their fifth visit to Health and Hope’s training centre. They had spent eight days helping women in Chin State gain knowledge of the birthing process and increasing their skills in midwifery care.

Maaike reports: ”It was an arduous four day journey into the jungles of Chin State, but we do it gladly. Fifty-two Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) came for the training, some having walked for a whole week across the mountains to attend.

We were so pleased to see old faces again, with just over half of those in attendance returning for the second phase of training. I think one of the most rewarding things for me is to see the incredible change to traditional practices since our last visit. Mother to baby skin-on-skin contact following birth is now a universal practice. This helps to regulate breathing, maintain temperature, initiate feeding and protects the baby from infection. In the absence of medical support, TBAs now understand the mechanism of delivery of the placenta and are encouraging natural separation rather than pulling. This has radically reduced the incidence of haemorrhaging.

Hand washing and infection control are well understood. TBAs have been practising listening to the baby’s heartbeat during pregnancy and delivery, using the equipment that Health and Hope supplied.”

Mrs Lakhu, a pregnant women from Lailenpi, was examined by the team during their training. She was so grateful for the work of the TBAs: “Health and Hope’s work is a life-giver for women in our community. Before the TBAs were trained by Health and Hope, I had so many complicated deliveries. During my last pregnancy, I was very weak and thought that the baby was not healthy. I was so worried I nearly started walking to the nearest hospital which is four to five days journey. But the TBA reassured me from her training that the baby was healthy. She had learnt so much, that my last pregnancy was so smooth and she helped me give birth without any problems or bleeding. We named our daughter Grace and till today, she has been healthy. 

All of the women here in the village have come to realise how wonderful is the knowledge and training that comes from Health and Hope to our community. We appreciate the TBAs so much.”

Thanks to your support, these fifty-two TBAs have been equipped with life-saving skills to help women like Mrs Lakhu in villages across Chin State. In addition, each TBA left the training with a ‘birthing kit’ containing the essential equipment for supporting women through pregnancy and labour. The next step will be to issue TBAs with a clean delivery kit for each pregnant women that they assist. 

"There have been so many valuable changes in practice since our first visit. We have also seen an overwhelming increase in confidence in the returning TBAs who now proudly model best practice to their peers. We are so looking forward to returning to Chin State. We truly get back as much as we give out." Frances, Midwife, Birthlink UK

We are so grateful for your support to this project and for the impact it is having on the lives of many families across the region.

On behalf of all at Health and Hope: Thank you!

Practical sessions: assisting deliveries
Practical sessions: assisting deliveries
Reflective learning and monitoring cards
Reflective learning and monitoring cards
Practising new-born resuscitation
Practising new-born resuscitation
Taking blood pressure
Taking blood pressure
Birthing bag
Birthing bag
 
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