Partnering for Healthy Childbirths in Nicaragua – A Midwife’s Testimony

Written by Dominga Granado and Kathy Griffith*
Translated by Belinda Forbes

Through the Abundant Health initiative, Acción Medica Cristiana (AMC) and Global Ministries are working together to ensure safe, healthy births in Nicaragua through leadership training for midwives in local communities. Dominga Granado, an AMC midwife, shares her experience from a recent training event.

Dominga Granado (in pink) shares her experiences with Ministry of Health workers. PHOTO COURTESY OF ACCIÓN MEDIA CRISTIANA

Partnership and training

My name is Dominga Granado. I’m 51 years old and have been a traditional midwife for 29 years in Paraiso, Kukra River in Nicaragua. My work as a midwife allows me to give basic care to a mother before and after birth. I visit families to counsel them on safe pregnancy and childbirth. If there are complications, I refer them to a health center. If an emergency occurs, I organize the community to evacuate a pregnant woman to the health center.

I work with AMC and recently attended a six-day training at the government’s Ministry of Health center in San Francisco la Aurora. The government and AMC often work together, but through this Abundant Health initiative, they have developed a firm partnership. Together, they are helping to better equip local health clinics.

Working together

At first, I was nervous. I didn’t know how the health workers would receive me. As health professionals, would they welcome me? Would they accept my traditional practices?

I’m glad to say that my confidence and knowledge about pregnancy and childbirth grew with the support of the Ministry of Health workers. I shared my traditional work experiences, and they shared their scientific practices. We learned the value of each other’s work and realized that together we can better serve the women in our communities.

As a midwife, I learned that we lack vital information in our traditional methods. Some of these practices in our community can be harmful to the mother and baby, and this needs to change. However, there are also many positive aspects of our traditional practices, and midwives have done much to support the health of our community.

Acción Medica Cristiana calls communities together to discuss the Abundant health project and the benefits it will bring to them. PHOTO COURTESY OF ACCIÓN MEDICA CRISTIANA

A newfound strength in my work

With my experience, the training, and support of the Abundant Health initiative, I can train more women and improve services. I’m glad to be part of these trainings and recommend they continue for our mutual benefit. In my work, I have encountered many special moments that have helped me to understand the importance of midwifery in the community, and this training was one of them.

Active partnerships for Abundant Health

United voices and actions for quality healthcare in communities and in local health facilities go hand in hand. Please consider supporting the United Methodist’s Abundant Health initiative by giving to Advance #3021770.

*Dominga Granado is a traditional midwife from Nicaragua. Kathy Griffith is program manager of Global Ministries’ Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health program.

Giving Voice to Women’s Health Education

Written by Tarka Bahadur Thapa and Kathy Griffith*
Translated by Lalita Chaudhary

“Before the training, I tried to conduct health education sessions, but I felt uncomfortable. That has changed!” said Ujeli Devi, a Female Community Health Volunteer (FCHV) in Bajhang, Nepal. “All the credit goes to the training. We had the opportunity to learn more about best healthcare practices for women and children and the role of FCHVs to raise the health status in local communities.”

When the United Mission to Nepal (UMN) started its Abundant Health Project in Daulichaur, Bajhang, it trained FCHVs and the Village Development Committee in birth preparedness and other vital subjects around motherhood. After the training and with regular support from the project staff, Devi started to hold mothers’ health group meetings in her local community. During these meetings, she led discussions on safe motherhood practices, family planning, nutrition, and sanitation.

Mothers gather together for a health group meeting in Bajhang, Nepal. PHOTO COURTESY OF UNITED MISSION TO NEPAL

Devi is pleased when she sees mothers discussing their health issues in the community after a meeting. In response, many participating mothers have referred pregnant women to the local government health facility for maternal, newborn, and child health services, which this project is also helping to support.

Because of the Abundant Health Project training, women now feel confident to raise their voices in their community. They are united to work and are empowered to share their knowledge and skills with each other. Ujeli Devi is thankful to the project staff for their ongoing support. For the past four months, she has conducted monthly meetings, and plans to continue the work she has started. 

For women and children everywhere, the importance of quality health services and the ongoing reinforcement of best health practices cannot be emphasized enough. Global Health is committed to affirming women to raise their strong, confident voices in their communities to enable better health for all. To support Global Ministries’ Global Health Unit in the implementation of the Abundant Health Initiative, give to the Advance #3021770.

*Tarka Bahadur Thapa is program manager for United Mission to Nepal. Kathy Griffith is program manager for Global Health’s Mother, Newborn, Child Health program.

World Health Day: Celebrating Safe Births in Rural Mozambique

*Rev. Arlindo Romao

The Problem
While making strides in recent years, the maternal and infant mortality rates in Mozambique are still among the highest in the world. The Ministry of Health has attributed this to delays in seeking prenatal care, not going to a clinic or hospital for their delivery, and the delay in obtaining treatment once in a health facility.

The United Methodist Church of Mozambique’s Response
In the first year of the Abundant Health Initiative, 516 pregnant women received services at Cambine clinic, staff helped to deliver 516 babies, and followed up 6,160 children with weighing and other services.

The United Methodist Cambine Health Center in Maxixe Province has been renovated, staffed and equipped through an Abundant Health grant, in partnership with the government. There are volunteer Community Health Advocates working in 13 villages, among 16,000 people. They encourage pregnant women and nursing mothers to attend the clinic for the best care and assistance. It was a Community Health Advocate who met and helped a mother named Lúcia.

Mama Lucia and her baby. Photo by A. Romao

Lúcia had delivered her first four children at home, assisted by local midwives. Then, 12 years later, when she suspected that she was pregnant again, her husband discouraged her from going to the clinic. He told her to wait and see. About six months later, a Community Health Advocate came to visit the village. “When she came to my house she spoke about the importance of prenatal care services,” remembers Lúcia. “She said that women should go to the Center for a pregnancy test if they weren’t sure they were pregnant.”

“I decided to go to Cambine to make sure. When the result was positive, they asked why I’d taken so long to come for services. I explained that my husband hadn’t let me. That day, I started to attend, but by the end of the eighth month I had complications. I had to call the Advocate to help me go to the Center. I went from Cambine to Morrumbene Hospital, and finally to Chicuque for a caesarian section. This program helped me a lot because if I had stayed at home, I might have lost my son, or even died myself. I gave birth in the hospital. It was better because it was safe. At home, we cannot do this.”

The importance of services
Through the program at Cambine, women are monitored throughout their pregnancy, they also receive malaria prevention and treatment, are screened for anemia and high blood pressure, and learn how to prepare for their delivery. They are also routinely tested for HIV so that both mother and baby can be protected. Prenatal care is an essential service for pregnant women. It can be lifesaving for both mother and child – as it was for Lúcia.

*Rev. Arlindo Romao is the Health Board Coordinator of the United Methodist Church of the Mozambique Conference