Monday, October 24, 2016

I have an idea....

Barbara on the left with a new mother and baby
We have an emerging challenge at the clinic in Obulle. The midwife, Barbara, has been working there about 7 months now and word has spread that she does deliveries. (The clinic didn't used to do them. The nurse provided prenatal care but people either got transport for the 20km into town or delivered at home.) They have also discovered that if something is wrong I'll get them free blood work or an ultrasound if needed. I also have been pushing prenatal visits and giving a free "moma kit" (supplies need for birthing like soap, gloves, etc with a little onsie and blanket) for the third prenatal visit they attend. Well, this has brought in several mothers in labor, trying to get their free baby things in a third visit before delivery. And just a lot more pregnant clients overall. Which is a good thing. That is what the clinic is there for. But this means we are having more and more deliveries. And more and more mothers coming for prenatal visits. I'm not complaining. But clinic days are becoming increasingly stressful for me. This morning we were trying to assist two laboring mothers while doing more than 40 prenatal checks. On one bed. With only two of us staff. Then suddenly there was a bad second degree perineal tear that I spent far too long trying to put back together and the day just seemed to get away from me.

And now I'm tired.  And Barbara is too. But we are expecting three more deliveries this week. Which leads me to my idea.
I'm seriously considering apprenticing a young lady or two from Obulle and training them to be assistant midwives. Young women who don't have their own kids yet so aren't too tied down. Who are functionally literate and can read our charts. Who are trainable in basic skills like fetal heart tone monitoring and blood pressures and who can support laboring women in the clinic. They will need lots of training before they can be independent. But I think they will really be of benefit to their community.

This post actually started out as one of the ones where I'm just writing to myself to process out loud. But I decided to clean it up, add today's pictures and toss it out there to ask for you to pray over this idea with me. I see lots of potential problems if this idea is actually going to happen. First off anyone who fills this role will need to make a small stipend. Which means I'll have the challenge of hiring and managing people. This will change my status in the community. Also, the local government officials may not like it because they would rather we just hire another district midwife. Which I don't want to do for so many reasons. An "apprentice" is a much more logical fit. But it will need to be the right person or people. There are lots more potential problems but the idea makes me quite excited. And slightly less tired already.....

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