Source: All Africa
"Midwives should be committed to provide quality service for pregnant mothers, create bright future for baby, mother and the family"

Giving birth with the help of birth attendants at health institutions grants mothers with double merit: getting healthy baby and safe motherhood

Mulugeta Gashaw, 27, is living in Tenta Woreda of Amhara State at the vicinity of the town of Dessie. He has been working as a midwife for the past two years. Recently, he received an award from Ethiopian Midwives Association for the effort he exerted to contribute a great deal towards declining maternal and child mortality rate.

At the beginning, as it seems for him to be a midwife naturally, his mother passed away while giving birth to him. Surprisingly, the placenta was not isolated from her body and nobody could assist her to do that. And finally, she passed away once and for all living aside her baby to others. But he had not any other option than being raised in the absence of a mother.

Since his childhood period he has been regretting the death of his mother. And he has had a dream to be a midwife since the time he went to school. When he was 10th grader, though he has a pass mark to join university, he decided to go technical school to study midwifery. And now he has been providing medical assistance to pregnant women in a place where he resides. But still, he lives with a melancholic gesture following the death of his mum. He wishes if his mother returns at once to see the assistance he has been providing for mothers.

Though the salary he received is not sufficient enough, he has made various contributions to assist pregnant mothers. He for example bought three mobiles and gave to pregnant women temporarily to make follow up and get problems solved soon whenever they have faced. After they give birth, he receives the mobile back and again give it to others. For this to happen, he has been preparing a list of pregnant mothers who are ready for delivery.

In addition to this, he bought 50 pajama, soap and other equipment to provide pregnant mother with. To prevent the child from hypothermia, he also buys an artifact to roll the baby. And other substantial cloths that help promote the betterment of the child. He also provide iodized salt to prevent abortion of mothers. He has also rented a house for a pregnant women to stay there when her delivery time approaches. He also recruits a house maid to help the pregnant women. Through mobilizing the public, he fulfills a raw material necessary for preparing meal to pregnant women.

He also organizes pregnant women conference to educate them every month. Most of the time, Mother-in-laws are prohibiting pregnant mothers not to go to health institutions. Understanding the reality, he gathers the people around pregnant women to raise their awareness towards the significance of giving birth with the help of birth attendants.

He is now struggling to stop maternal and child mortality. Because he still feels the death of his mother and because he raised in the absence of getting mothers love and affection. The regret he had developed attracts him to discharge big social responsibility. He has been working beyond the call of his duty as if he can make his mother happy via saving the life of mothers and infants in his domicile.

Muluwork Getenet, 22, is also serving as midwife for the past two years both in rural and urban areas. First, she served in Gondar. "When I worked there the very challenge I was faced was, mothers didn't come to hospital to give birth. They had their own armful traditional believes - they assumed that they can deliver when the chicken is slaughtered. They do not want to get professional assistance. As a result, they passed away during delivery and /or after through long bleeding.

Understanding this, midwives working in the area have planned to educate the society and allow the latter to apply traditional practices at the hospital till the tradition is entirely eroded away. Through time we raise the awareness of the community and the number of mothers who give birth coming to the hospital is now increasing, Muluwork said.

Ethiopian Midwives Association President, Aster Teshome said that the government gives special consideration to provide the public with quality and equitable health service. Thus, investing in midwives helps to achieve the target set in GTP II. Midwives should be committed to provide quality service for pregnant mothers and create bright future for baby, mother and the family. The association has been working to raise professional competence and skill of midwives by intervening institutional care. The association is also working to acknowledge best performers, she said.

According to Dr. Amir Aman, Health State Minister, concerted effort of stakeholders is critical to decline maternal and child mortality rate thereby achieve Health Sector Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Addressing the 24th General Assembly of Ethiopian Midwives Association which took place two week earlier under a theme: "Midwives: For a transformed Ethiopia", Dr. Amir Aman said that the ministry had been working deliberately together with midwives and achieved Millennium Development Goals a head of time. We are also able meet MDG goal through encouraging pregnant women to give birth at health institutions and provide necessary medical treatment so as to decline maternal mortality.

"But a lot remains to be done in declining maternal and child mortality rate and achieve sustainable development goals. For this to happen, the ministry has now prepared Health Sector Transformation Plan. But the plan by itself does not make a difference devoid of the commitment and strong support of midwifery and health extension workers."

Dr. Amir further said that still, over 12,000 mothers are dying while they are giving birth annually. And about 23 infants are also dying within an hour. That is why, we need to work together. What is more, dedication is expected from midwives in this regard. Specially, the ministry needs to work with midwives in four areas. First, they have to work for the transformation of Woredas, to strengthen health information system, to provide standardize, quality health service in an equitable manner as well as to serve the public in an ethical manner. To make this a reality, we have to produce model midwives and recognize them, he added.

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