“I feel proud to be making a difference as a midwife!”
CHAMA, Zambia (By Precious Zandonda /UNFPA), Kingsley Musama is a direct-entry male midwife, who has been working for 4 years under the Ministry of Health. He is the only midwife available at the Chikwa Rural Health Centre in Chama District, Eastern Province, with a catchment population of 11,880. Being the only midwife in the area, Kingsley also provides midwifery services at 4 other clinics.
“I work in a very remote and poor area, thus I came up with an initiative we call ‘community midwifery’ – where we take midwifery services directly to the communities. This initiative has saved many women from dying due to pregnancy complications”, said Kingsley.
In addition to midwifery services, Kingsley also provides family planning counselling, breast cancer awareness and reproductive health education to women and families in the community. He has also set up reproductive health focus groups in his community - where he educates mothers on safe motherhood and encourages exclusive breastfeeding. His contribution has helped reduce the maternal and new-born mortality and morbidity levels in Chama District and Eastern Province as a whole. He is also working with Community Based Volunteers to encourage women to deliver in health facilities, and not at home. “I feel proud to be making a difference as a midwife” said Kingsley.
Kingsley has changed the lives of many families in his area. Couples, women and girls come to consult Kingsley during the antenatal and postnatal period. He also advises couples on contraception and health education.
“However, there are many challenges that I’m facing in my everyday work: lack of electricity, shortage of equipment, and no motorbikes to take women to the nearest health facilities. I would like to help as many women as possible, despite all the difficulties”, said Kingsley.
When asked about what a typical day at work is like for him, Kingsley highlights “Being the only skilled personnel at the clinic, I work almost 24hrs a day. I recall the day I started work at 04:00am conducting Manual Vacuum Aspirations (MVAs) until 06:00am. After that I attended to Out Patient Department (OPD) clients – about 85 to 90 patients until 14:00hrs. From 14:00hrs onwards, I attended to clients who reported for family planning, antenatal, postnatal care services with breaks in between to assist any pregnant women in labour.
Thinking ahead, Kingsley would like to pursue and advance his midwifery education. “I have greatly benefited from the EmONC trainings under the H4+ Initiative which is funded by the government of Canada and jointly supported by UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO, UNAIDS and the World Bank. I have also benefited from several training programs on ‘Helping Babies Breath’ under the Midwives Association of Zambia”, said Kingsley. He aims to reach and help as many families as possible in his community, and continue making a difference in their lives.
He encourages as many people as possible, especially men, to join the midwifery profession – as this will contribute to saving the lives of women and babies and dispelling the myth that men are not preferred by women as midwives.
Zandonda is a staff of UNFPA, Zambia