Note to a Midwife

Note to a Midwife

Mbambu, a midwife at a western Ugandan health center. {Photo credit: MSH.}Photo credit: MSH.

Mbambu is a midwife who works at Isole Health Center III in rural Western Uganda. When I had the opportunity to visit with her, she was the only health care provider at the center. Trained as a midwife nine years ago, her passion for her job pours out of her. Since primary school, becoming a midwife "was always my mission,” she said.

A little over a year ago, Mbambu was trained in family planning and reproductive health skills by STRIDES for Family Health, a USAID-funded program in Uganda led by MSH. Prior to the training, the health center could only offer education and basic family planning services.

Now Mbambu educates women who are waiting to have their children immunized or receive antenatal treatment about family planning, healthy spacing and timing of pregnancies, and the benefits of delivering at a health center. Her new skills also empower her to administer basic and long-term family planning services.

Mbambu shared a compelling story that I promised I would share with others:

A woman came to the health center last summer. She was a housewife and already had seven children. She wanted to speak with me about family planning options. After I counseled her, the woman handed me a piece of paper. The woman's husband had written a letter to me, the midwife, stating that he fully supported the decision to use family planning and that we should choose the best method for their family.

The midwife was so overjoyed by the support of this husband. Many men are still not supportive of using family planning in this community, Mbambu said. “In the past year, I’ve learned couples must decide on family planning together – or it won’t work.” It is encouraging that some husbands are beginning to learn more about the benefits of using family planning.

Mbambu is a passionate and dedicated health worker. She lives every day saying she loves her job: “Yes, I have to save people.”

Margaret Hartley, knowledge exchange associate at MSH, was awarded the Gadue-Niebling-Urdaneta (GNU) Memorial Fellowship. She traveled to Uganda for four weeks, visiting local health centers and NGOs to meet with organizations MSH serves.

Editor’s note: MSH established the Gadue-Niebling-Urdaneta (GNU) Memorial Fund in memory of Cristi Gadue, Amy Lynn Niebling, and Carmen Urdaneta, to further the work to which these remarkable women dedicated their lives. Each year, the GNU Fellowship provides two MSH employees based in the US and globally with an international public health opportunity at another MSH location.