This past Monday, we began an education week that is the first of its kind for us. Friends of Barnabas partners with 30 communities in the central mountains of Honduras. These communities are where our volunteers go to deliver medical services during the Mountain Medical Mission teams.
In order to be a partner community, these villages must designate community health volunteers who will participate in ongoing health and wellness training, on things like nutrition, safe water and sanitation, agricultural practices, and prenatal care. We also work with the midwives of partner communities, to offer support and training, to increase the likelihood of safe deliveries in their villages.
The World Health Organization states "about 800 women and more than 8000 newborns die every day due to largely preventable complications during pregnancy, childbirth and the immediate postnatal period. In addition, every year, nearly 3 million babies are stillborn. Many of these lives could be saved if every birth were attended by a trained midwife."
Friends of Barnabas volunteer, Dr. Joe Browning, OB/GYN, is spending two days this week
teaching (and learning from!) the community midwives. The following two days he will be doing fetal ultrasounds for women from our communities.
Today, the Honduran government requires that all practicing midwives have some form of formal training either through a Centro de Salud or another government program. FOB is fulfilling that requirement for our partner communities.
We had 34 women in attendance on the first day, with the oldest being 83 years old and the youngest 27. Together they represent 895 years of birthing experience, and have delivered 27,560 babies!! Here are just some of the amazing stories we heard from these inspiring women who are participating in training this week:
The longest practicing midwife began her practice when she was 14 years old. She has practiced for 60 years, stating she had never had a problem delivery.
Eleven of these women stated that God called them into practice, and that they had taught themselves everything they knew about delivering babies.
One midwife stated the first woman she helped deliver was her mother with her younger brother.
One lady said she delivered all of her own children because her husband was always drunk and never got help for her. She is a midwife because she didn’t want other women to have to deliver alone.
Dr. Joe spent the afternoon talking with the midwives about the importance of prenatal care,
natural things to use for those early pregnancy symptoms, pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure), premature babies, how to handle delivering mothers who had had a previous c-section, and then offered a general question and answer time with the women.
It has been amazing to hear these women share their wisdom and life experiences. God truly has worked through these strong and capable hands.