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South Africa: A momentous day for midwives

Something pretty momentous happened in South Africa this year.

I got that ‘OMG, this is historic’ feeling, as we were walking under a bridge, singing a song.

There were hundreds of women, all singing in parts, and their voices were echoing beautifully around me.

It gave me goosebumps.

No ordinary women

These women seemed self-assured, strong, unafraid.

They were midwives.

Midwives from all over the world, who had came together as a professional body to consult the experts, and each other, on the latest in midwifery.

Nothing particularly historic about that – they do it every year, apparently.

Except this time, they were marching for the rights of mothers and babies.

Midwives save lives

Developing governments around the world struggle with staffing and resourcing enough qualified health workers.

In Africa and Asia particularly, this means that too many babies die frequently of easily preventable causes.

These midwives were asking that every mother and baby be within reach of a trained midwife to improve their chances of survival.

With your help, we can train and equip more midwives so that they can deliver newborns safely and keep them healthy.

Would a man want to be a midwife?

It was an extraordinary gathering. I met two male midwives from Ethiopia.

Would a man want to be a midwife?

“We love our jobs,” they said.

And, are women okay with this?

“Yes of course,” they said. “We know what to do – they trust us.”

It made me wonder whether my questions contained a hidden, reverse-stereotype.

Creating a little bit of history

It was about forty minutes later when I had an epiphany.

It’s not a word I normally use, but then it’s really the only one that comes to mind.

These women had the guts to stand up for what they believed in – and not so much for themselves, but for babies and mothers around the world, who really shouldn’t be treated that way.

They knew some horrific stories, and they weren’t going to remain silent about it.

I felt humbled to be a part of the little bit of history that they were creating that day.

Here’s a short film about their work, so you can see for yourselves…

You can help us train more amazing midwives — please donate now

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