| Feb 12, 2015
In Bomi County, Liberia, there’s a movement afoot to educate women on the dangers of delivering babies in the home.
Clinical supervisors from Medical Teams International are making inroads in convincing women that, with anti-Ebola measures keeping the disease at bay, it has become safer for women to give birth at medical facilities.
Support from MTI’s donors, like you, has made that possible. The lives of thousands, like Sawho Johnson and her two children, were improved — possibly saved — because you joined the team.
Sawho gave birth to twins at an MTI-supervised facility after her mother-in-law, a traditional midwife, was convinced by an MTI clinical supervisor that it was safe to do so.
Fatu Gebeh, from left, and Sawho Johnson hold the twins Sawho birthed at a medical clinic.
That wasn’t so easy.
Following the outbreak of Ebola, many of Liberia’s certified midwives and doctors began dying from the disease, a result of poor sanitation practices at hospitals and clinics. This led to fears circulating about the risks associated with coming into contact with pregnant women who may have Ebola. Many women were turned away from clinics during the height of the Ebola epidemic. Some died giving birth on the streets.
Because there was a lack of trust between traditional midwives, certified midwives and other health practitioners, it was difficult for pregnant women, especially ones from rural villages, to receive regular maternity treatment. A number of traditional midwives turned to home births as an alternative, something Liberia’s Ministry of Health warned against prior to the Ebola outbreak.
One of those traditional midwives was Sawho’s mother-in-law, Fatu Gebeh.
“I consider it a shame that I live in a village that allows women to give birth in public without medical help,” Fatu said. “I won’t listen to any health worker because they want our population to reduce. That’s why they are allowing women to give birth in public without aid so they may die in child birth.”
That credibility gap between health workers and the public, borne of the Ebola epidemic, needed to be filled. And that’s where MTI and your generous donations have played a significant role.
MTI clinical supervisor Oscar Dolo has been working on an awareness campaign to convince traditional midwives that there are dangers associated with home deliveries.
In Fatu’s case, it worked. The traditional midwife took Sawho to a clinic, where she gave birth to her twins — Fatu and Hawa Johnson.
Your blessings and gifts are making a difference around the globe, among the world’s most vulnerable citizens. Through education programs and medical training in Liberia, we can make a difference and end the suffering.