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Modern midwives saving the maternity crisis in traditional Sierra Leone

Modern midwives saving the maternity crisis in traditional Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone

Being a professional midwife in a society deeply rooted with tradition and female genital mutilation (FGM) can be extremely challenging.

These trainees in Masuba midwifery school in rural Sierra Leone will be taking their final examinations, but have already experienced difficulties when it comes to their new career.

“People don’t believe in the hospital facilities, they believe in the native medication thing. We counsel them, tell them the importance of being in the hospital, even though they still refuse and they go home, like I don’t want to be in the hospital,” said Aminata Kanu, a student from the school.

People don't believe in the hospital facilities, they believe in the native medication thing.

Officials in the school are aware of these setbacks by emphasizing on culturally sensitive training aimed at changing the mindsets of the country’s rural community.

“What we are teaching to our students is culturally sensitive care because of the continent we found ourselves, we also want to respect culture because if you dispute this one then you will not get them to use the modern type. So we encourage them: this one is good but you back it up with modern method of family planning,” said tutor Cecelia Lausana.

Despite these problems, some communities have taken firm action by passing a punitive by-law on any woman delivering at home.

Cooperating with these graduates will save thousands of women and babies alike, in the remote communities they will soon be serving.