AMREF is proud to report that the Stand Up for African Mothers' midwife training has already begun. So far, 1,422 midwives have completed their training in Mozambique, Tanzania, Uganda, Ethiopia and Kenya. Each AMREF-trained midwife can reach up to 500 women per year on average, meaning that 711,000 more women can be reached in these countries - and that's with only 10% of our goal complete!
We are also excited about The REAL Awards. Every year, awards are given to recognize the accomplishments of celebrities, actors, singers, athletes and entertainers. But what about the REAL people who don’t just play a doctor or nurse on TV? The ones on the front lines who are changing and saving lives every day? This year we will begin to honor the people who rarely receive recognition or accolades – health workers.
Launched at the Clinton Global Initiative in 2012, The REAL Awards is a first-of-its kind awards platform designed to develop greater respect for and appreciation of the life-saving care provided by health workers around the world.
Our objective is to demonstrate the universal and urgent need for more trained, caring health workers on the front lines. By some estimates, the world is short more than 5 million health workers including one million front line health workers. Existing health workers are often overworked and under-appreciated. We need to remind the public that people everywhere depend on health workers every day.
This year, an AMREF-trained midwife and Stand Up for African Mothers’ spokesperson, Esther Madudu, has been nominated for a REAL award.
Esther Madudu, 31, is a midwife employed by the Government of Uganda working at the Tiriri Health Center IV in Katine District. She has worked at this health center for three years and in the district for seven years.
Tiriri health centre IV, located just outside Tiriri trading center in Katine, is the main facility for seven sub-counties that make up Soroti County. A health center IV is a mini hospital. Tiriri health center has 34 beds and sees up to 100 out-patients a day, including referrals. For a long time, it has been run by two clinical officers, but a medical doctor was recently employed there. Of the three midwives at the health centre, one of them is currently on study leave, leaving Esther and her colleague to share the workload. Their duties include prenatal services – including examination of the mothers, counseling of HIV-positive mothers, nutritional education, Teaching mothers how to prevent the transmission of HIV to their children; maternity services, including delivery; and post-natal care. Besides all the other duties, the midwives deliver 45 to 50 babies every month.
Words from Esther:
“I am very proud today to represent the work of the midwives in Africa and to raise awareness to the plight of African mothers, give them a voice and draw everyone’s attention to the urgent need for more midwives in Africa.
My health center is deep in the rural areas. It is not fenced, there is no power and the solar panels do not work. This makes our work very difficult, particularly in the maternity ward. AMREF had given us head torches that we could use for light at night, but these no longer work, so we use the light from our mobile phones to deliver the babies. Sometimes the mothers come with candles, but it is not easy to do a delivery by candlelight.
There is so much work to do and yet we are very few. We are forced to work day and night. Like today, I have been on my feet all day and have not had time to eat. Most days we just take a walking soda. I do not even have time for my son because of my busy schedule. He is only 10 months old. I decided to take him to stay with my mother who lives in Pallisa in Eastern Uganda because he was spending too much time alone. The house girl I had employed did not care for him properly because I was not able to supervise her closely.
The heavy workload also makes it difficult to do all of our work effectively. We are supposed to make follow-up home visits to HIV-positive mothers, but we are so tied down at the health center, we cannot make the visits. Because of stigma, women do not always follow our advice because they do not want other people to know that they are infected. So they do not take the Nevirapine (an HIV medication) at onset of labour, and they go ahead and breastfeed their babies, putting their babies at highly increased risk of infection.
Even though I work in very difficult circumstances, I know I do an important job. Besides the training I got in nursing school, AMREF has given me knowledge and skills in additional areas such as how to handle severe malaria in pregnancy, post-abortion care, immunisation, and complications in delivery. The training that AMREF gave to the Village Health Teams has helped us greatly too, because most mothers are referred to us in good time for deliveries.”