Saturday March 2, 2013 was an exciting day for our midwife trainees from the villages in Darfur - their Graduation Day and the culmination of a year of study and what must have often seemed an extremely long year being away from their villages and families and, most amazingly, even from their babies and young children left behind in the villages for the family to look after - what amazing commitment and dedication these women show to their communities. 39 midwives graduated. The results were excellent with the success rate ranging from 76.3% to 96.6% showing that these young women are not only very dedicated but also immensely talented and hard working. The top students were Asia Dawood Salih Abualsadig from Swelinga village and Zakya Mohamed Sabil Bakhit from Alfaki Ali village who both got 96.6% in their final exams - a truly amazing achievement. We were honoured that the Minister of Health attended the Graduation ceremony. For the first time the oath taken by the midwives included the commitment to fight harmful habits and female circumcision.
At their Graduation ceremony each midwife was presented with a certificate, a box of essential equipment for their work in the villages and a mobile phone which will enable them to readily communicate with the local hospital to refer women with pregnancy complications who need specialist attention and to obtain expert advice over the phone. The graduating midwives are also given funds to purchase a cross bred donkey when they return to the village - this ensures that they can reach their clients speedily, particularly in the case of an emergency. The graduating midwives represent 31 villages. For six new villages which Kids for Kids has adopted over the last 2 years the women will be so pleased and excited to have two trained midwives in their midst for the first time to guide them through their pregnancies. This will alleviate their fears and give peace of mind to the women in these villages - many of them dread pregnancy as they knew that no real help was at hand. The other graduating midwives come from villages for which we have trained at least one midwife in the past and so the new graduates will be welcomed as an additional midwife as we believe there should be two midwives in each village to provide mutual support or they are replacements for a midwife who has had to move away from the village, usually on marriage.
It is clear how valued the midwives are by their communities and our ability to provide the training for these amazing women is only possible through the support of our committed supporters to whom we, and more especially the women of the villages of Darfur, are most grateful - how great to be able to give them this peace of mind. Thank you.
For our 40 trainee village midwives the end is in sight as their year long training course is almost complete. The last hurdle for them will be both theoretical and practical exams before the joy of their graduation in January 2013. And more importantly the joy of returning home after what must have seemed a very long year away from their families and friends and in many cases, their children. Our trainees are immensely dedicated and committed and their families are also incredibly supportive, caring for the children, during this extended period of absence. The women in the villages will also be acutely aware that they are only a month away from having their dream of having an experienced person on hand to help them in childbirth fulfilled. There will be immense excitement and happiness in the villages when the midwives return home. Most of us cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to have no one to give help and advice in pregnancy and childbirth and in particular no one to turn to if things go wrong. It must be particularly frightening for a new mother. So we are pleased that through the help of all our generous supporters the 40 new midwives will be able to bring peace of mind to mothers in more than 20 villages in Darfur. Their presence and their expertise will play a crucial part in reducing the numbers of women dying in childbirth.
Whilst the trainee midwives attend their final lectures and complete their exams, our Project staff are busy ordering the kits of basic equipment and drugs which the midwives will take back with them to the villages to enable them to perform their important role. The trainees will also receive funds to buy a cross bred donkey so that they are able to reach their clients speedily and a mobile phone so that they can contact the local hospital to receive additional advice in very difficult cases and to make referrals to the hospital.
The 40 trainee midwives from the villages are continuing their year long training and the reports suggest that they are making good progress. It takes an immense amount of dedication and hard work from these young women - many of them have left young children and even babies behind in the villages in the care of relatives - such is the extent of their commitment to serve their communities and to help other women to cope with childbirth. Their services are so much needed as the maternal mortality rate in the villages is very high as at present there is no one in the villages able to detect and deal with problem pregnancies. These trainees are due to graduate in January 2013 and they and their communities must be longing for this time to come.
In the meantime the many village midwives, over 80, who have been trained by KIDS FOR KIDS over the past 10 years are continuing to provide great help to their communities. Our Programme Manager is currently in discussion with the Ministry of Health to obtain statistics on the performance of the midwives in the villages in terms of the numbers of mothers they have assisted, the number of women referred to hospital because of problem pregnancies, etc.. .
The 40 trainee village midwives are now almost half way through the year-long training programme and are probably now allowing themselves the luxury of thinking about going home - many have left young children, even babies, back in the village. The commitment of these young women to this training is quite amazing. Their villages are also waiting in eager anticipation for their return with the women in particular longing for the day when they will have expertise on hand when they encounter difficulties in pregnancy or childbirth. Meanwhile the midwives trained previously by KIDS FOR KIDS continue to provide excellent and most valued service to their villages.
The 40 midwife trainees selected from the villages have now completed two months of their year long training. The trainees are living in the new dormitory whose construction was funded by KIDS FOR KIDS at the Ministry of Health's Midwives Training School in 2010. This was funded by KIDS FOR KIDS when we found that lack of accommodation was the principal factor preventing the training an adequate number of village midwives. The commitment of the trainees is outstanding - many of them have left small children to be cared for my family members back home. To find women willing to be parted from their babies and young children for such a long time is quite amazing and shows just how much all women value the possibility of having a trained person in the village to guide them through pregnancy and childbirth and how proud these women are to be able to bring these services and peace of mind to all mothers in the village.
In the meantime the midwives trained in the past by KIDS FOR KIDS are making a real difference to the lives of pregnant women and nursing mothers in the villages. Through their efforts a significant dent has been made in the maternal mortality rate.
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