"Having a baby should be a time of joy"
Esther Madudu is a midwife from Uganda and the Ambassador of the Stand Up For African Mothers campaign by AMREF. The campaign has three goals:
• To raise awareness for the life-saving work midwives do
• To train 15000 midwives by 2015
• To gain enough support to nominate Esther for the Nobel Peace Prize
Esther described some of the challenges she is facing in her work such as lack of equipment, drugs that are out of stock, lack of running water and no electricity. The ambulance in her health facility is old and sometimes not running, so in case of obstructed labor it is challenging to get the woman to the nearest referral hospital. She often needs to work long shifts as the maternity ward in her health facility is open 24 hours 7 days a week and there are only a few midwives to care for the over 200 women coming to give birth. Esther also does outreach work, where she walks or cycles to the communities to visit the mothers after they have given birth and provide some much needed postnatal care. On these visits she emphasizes the importance of health care and also reaches out to the men of the community so they are sensitized to bring their (pregnant) wives to the health center if complications arise. Esther’s presentation shows the many challenges women in resource poor countries are facing and the consequences of poor health care: the maternal mortality in Sub-Saharan Africa is the highest in the world and every year over 200,000 women die giving birth. “It doesn’t need to be this way”, is Esther convinced: “Having a baby is a time of joy”.
At the ICM headquarter Esther launched an appeal to support the campaign and provide the care needed to African mothers because no woman should lose her life when giving life. More information on the campaign and how to support it can be found here.