63 years serving pregnant women

In the province of Sud-Ubangi, Sister Marie accompanied around 50,000 births as a nurse midwife.

UNICEF DRC
Une sœur avec des bébés
UNICEF DRC Idumbo
16 March 2022

Sister Marie, 87 years old, arrived in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in 1959 at the time of the Belgian Congo. As midwife nurse, she was immediately hired at the Père Prinetti Hospital Center in Zongo in the province of Sud-Ubangi, where she still practices today. “I have been helping women give birth for 63 years,” says Sister Marie proudly.

Sœur aide une femme d'accoucher
UNICEF DRC Idumbo

Despite the difficulties that the hospital faces, including the lack of medicines and basic equipment, Sister Marie accompanies each pregnancy and each birth as best as possible. Thanks to her years of experience, she manages, for example, to take care of babies born prematurely without having an incubator or suitable equipment.

Une sœur débout
UNICEF DRC Idumbo

To improve the quality of care at the Father Prinetti Hospital Center, which registers around sixty deliveries per month, UNICEF has provided an initial batch of equipment consisting of a delivery bed and a baby table. Throughout the DRC, UNICEF is improving the care of childbirth and newborns and fighting against preventable diseases that are responsible for the deaths of children.

Une sœur porte un enfat
UNICEF DRC Idumbo

During her career, Sister Marie has accompanied approximately 50,000 births and knows better than anyone the importance of giving birth in a health facility. “Each childbirth has its realities,” says Sister Marie. Indeed, childbirth and the period following birth are times when the woman and the newborn are extremely vulnerable. The most critical intervention is ensuring the presence of a skilled health worker at every birth.

Sister Marie remains passionate about her work. She hopes that all the children she has helped bring into the world – some of whom have already become adults – will in turn help the Zongo community. “I hope they will have a better life and become useful people for the country,” she concludes.

UNICEF works alongside the Congolese government to improve the chances of survival for newborns, children and mothers. Between 2001 and 2018, the under-5 mortality rate fell by more than 65% and the maternal mortality rate fell by almost 40%.