When I first started working in Tanzania, the Maasai women asked me to teach them about how to prevent their babies from dying early in their little lives.
To start, we gathered a group of women together in the village. I asked the women if they had ever known anyone who had died in childbirth. Their animated response made me realise that death in childbirth was common place. I asked who the women were who had been affected. They pointed out many friends, relatives and neighbours who were in the room. I then asked where the women lived. Again, many fingers pointed all around the village, It was liking asking people in England if they had ever had a cold! Official local figures showed 18 deaths in only nine months that year. Co-incidentally 18 children under age 2 had also died in the same time span. I decided this curse on the community had to be wiped out.
I asked if there were any trained Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) in the community. These are the women who attend births. In the villages, though, the women who attended births at that point had no other qualification other than the fact that their mothers did the same job and passed it on. I decided that they would the group that I could start to work with.
It was then that Rebecca said she was willing to train as a midwife, with the moral support of her husband Timothy. Now, there are 10 traditional birth attendants in the village and the death rate has been reduced to almost zero - quite a transformation!
Thank you to all of the supporters of our work who help us to make a huge difference with a small amount of money. Your generosity continues to transform and save lives.
Keep following this blog for more information on what is happening at Call the Midwife Tanzania.