Save Women and Children from Dying During Birth

by Kids for Kids
Vetted

Our village midwives continue to very effectively carry out their primary role of helping women to safely deliver their babies. We receive monthly reports from the villages and these show us just how active the midwives are in providing sevices to the women in their communities. To give a couple of examples, in Siwailinga village Midwife Um Hany Hassan conducted 20 ante-natal and post-natal visits, assisted in 5 successful deliveries and transferred 2 mothers to El-Fasher hospital during the month whilst in Elfakir Ali village Midwife Zakiya Mohammed Sabil conducted 22 ante-natal and postnatal visits, assisted in 9 successful deliveries and referred 3 mothers to El-Fasher hospital.  These midwives are clearly much in demand and their services are highly appreciated by the mothers.

But conditions in Darfur are continuing to worsen as soaring inflation over the past few months makes the struggle for survival even more difficult. Last month the villagers were dealt a further blow as the Government oil subsidy has been cut resulting in higher transport costs and yet higher prices for everything, including the most basic essentials. In many villages in Darfur the effects of hunger and shockingly inadequate diet are evident in increasing numbers of malnourished children. But in the Kids for Kids villages the situation is much better with no evidence of malnutrition amongst the children. The goat loans  have made  a huge difference but the village midwives have also played a vital role providing guidance to mothers in how to feed their children and how to make the best use of the food which is available. They carry out regular meetings with mothers to provide training in nutrition and infant health and welfare.

But the villages which Kids for Kids is currently able to support is only a drop in the ocean. The need is vast and never before has our help been so vital - but we can only do it with your support. Thank you for supporting this project - your generosity has made a difference but please tell people what you know about Darfur and encourage them how to help children who no one else is helping.

Our village midwives are an asset which is highly prized by the women in our villages in Darfur. To us it is unimaginable that women in Darfur face pregnancy and childbirth without having any trained person on hand to provide advice and guidance and as a consequence any problems encountered frequently result in the loss of the baby and in many cases also the death of the mother. All this changes when Kids for Kids adopts a village and trains two women as village midwives who provide regular ante-natal check-ups snd are able to detect potential problems and take appropriate action. It is no wonder that women value them so highly. One of the many village midwives we have funded delivered 120 babies in two remote villages in the 28 months since she had graduated. Moreover, she had arranged for 5 pregnant women facing complications to undertake the long journey to hospital in time to deliver their babies safely - without her skill the outcome is likely to have been very different. Although our midwives have to rely on the speedy cross bred donkey which we provide to reach their clients, we have provided them with 21st century technology in the form of a mobile phone which enables them to be able to contact the local hospital for advice and for referrals of women facing complications. Our last batch of village midwives graduated in March and we are still awaiting a report from the Ministry of Health on the performance of all the midwives we have trained before going ahead with the next training course.  We already have the trainees identified - some from the three new villages which we adopted in 2013 and others fill gaps in our established villages where a midwife may, for example, have left the area on marriage. We are also still in discussion with the Ministry of Health about the possibility of Kids for Kids funding a second Midwifes Training School in Mellit.

The women who graduated as village midwives three months ago are now settling into their new role in their villages. They have now purchased their cross bred donkeys giving them the necessary mobility to be able to reach any women with problems during child birth very quickly. This is of immense importance in contributing to saving lives.  The women in the six new villages having the services of a trained village midwife for the first time are particularly happy knowing that they now have expert advice on hand in the village if they encounter problems during pregnancy and childbirth. For the first time they also have the benefit of regular ante-natal checks which enable potential difficulties to be detected early. These services are so vital and appreciated by the women as maternal mortality in the villages in Darfur is very high and our village midwives save many lives. Your support makes all this possible and the peace of mind which you give to the women in Darfur is a precious and priceless gift.

Overall, the value of the trained midwives has become apparent in recent months. Malnutrition is currently rife in the villages in Darfur as soaring inflation has meant that families cannot affort to feed their children. However, there is no malnutrition in Kids for Kids villages and the midwives have played a major part in this providing sound advice to mothers on how to feed their children in the difficult circumstances. The loan of 6 goats by Kids for Kids to the porest families has also played has been another factor pro viding nutrient rich milk to the poorest families.

We are currently in discussion with the Ministry of Health about the next training course for village midwives which we hope to start during the next few months but the process is stalled at present as we area awaiting reports from the Ministry of Health on the activities and performance of the village midwives which form a part of our contract with the Ministry of Health.  We are also awaiting a decision on our offer to at least part share the cost of the construction of a second MIdwifery Training School in the north of Darfur.   

Boxes of equipment awaiting distribution
Boxes of equipment awaiting distribution

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.

Graduate receiving equipment box
Graduate receiving equipment box
Graduate being congratulated
Graduate being congratulated
Training aids at the Midwife Training School
Training aids at the Midwife Training School

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.    

 

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Organization Information

Kids for Kids

Location: Dorking, Surrey - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.kidsforkids.org.uk
Project Leader:
Patricia Parker
CEO & Chairman of Trustees
Dorking, Surrey United Kingdom

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