Training to save lives
UNICEF is helping train midwives to improve care for mothers and new-borns in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Still weakened and emaciated, Annie Muke hugs her newborn baby close and realizes gradually that she has grazed the worst. When she was due to give birth to her fourth child, things did not go as planned.
“She arrived in a critical condition”, said Fifi Lomboto, the midwife who accompanied Annie during her childbirth at the Sacré-Coeur Hospital in Kikwit. Annie had already been working in a nearby health center for six days. Exhausted and out of energy, Annie fell into a coma and was urgently transferred to Sacré-Coeur General Reference Hospital. Fifi Lomboto and all the medical staff then mobilized to revive Annie, accelerate the cervix dilation, and support childbirth despite the complications.
Annie Muke finally gave birth to a healthy baby. Annie's emaciated face is full of recognition every time she looks at Fifi Lomboto.
Over a year ago, Fifi Lomboto and the nursing staff at the Sacré-Coeur General Reference Hospital participated in a training program supported by UNICEF. “We perfectly mastered the techniques of taking care of pregnant women and mother - newborn couples”, proudly explains Fifi Lomboto adding that they also have adequate equipment to support complicated deliveries.
Childbirth and the period immediately following birth are the moments when the woman and the newborn are extremely vulnerable. The most crucial intervention is to guarantee the presence of a competent health worker with each birth.
Thanks to the support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, nearly 180,000 pregnant women benefited from the clinical mentoring programme and gave birth under good conditions last year.