Personal Tags: Sierra Leone, White Ribbon Alliance, Millennium Development Goals
Zoe Vowles, Sierra LeoneZoe Vowles, herself a trained midwife, is passing on her skills to the next generation of desperately needed midwives in Sierra Leone. She is training 150 midwives this year, which will help to more than double the number of midwives in the whole country. This is so important as there are no doctors in this part of the world. The nearest obstetrician is in the capital Freetown, seven hours away.
These midwives are all that stand between mothers and a stillbirth, a devastating fistula, or even the ultimate complication: in this part of the world, 1 in 8 women still die in childbirth. The training covers recognizing when a woman is in danger or her baby is in distress and how to respond. She's also trained health workers in newborn resuscitation – very little was known about how to do this. It's easy to see what this training will mean for very vulnerable babies and their mothers.
"Zoe proves that one person really does have the power to transform the lives of vulnerable women. This brave midwife has made immense personal sacrifices to help women and their children survive and thrive. She's endured tough times without food and water, sleeping under the stars and living far from family and friends.
Her care and compassion come to the fore with young women whose lives have been blighted by loss and disability. She's restoring their dignity and giving communities the greatest of gifts – life and hope. She's one of the most positive and dynamic people you could ever meet. She's also one of the most humble. We are in awe of her!"
Story submitted by Helen Stack, Health Poverty Action
Superhero Health WorkersThis story is one of many submitted by members of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood ® (WRA) to celebrate health workers. Health workers save the lives of women and children every day, despite often facing difficult working conditions and inadequate resources. Health workers are vital for progress on global health and development and for ensuring the Millennium Development Goals are met. Yet, the world is short of more than 3.5 million health workers, including 1 million community health workers and 350,000 midwives.