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AMREF HEALTH AFRICA: A midwife student’s dream is coming true!

The Maridi Health Science Institute (MHSI), founded in 1998, was built to help address the extreme gaps in healthcare throughout South Sudan by providing medical training to health workers in remote and underserved communities. This school year, 125 students, 47 fully sponsored by Amref, enrolled in midwifery and clinical medicine courses. Hellen, a 25-year-old midwife student in her final year, told her grandfather she would be a nurse when she grew up. As a resident of South Sudan and Uganda during their conflicts, she saw firsthand what women go through during pregnancy and labor. These experiences taught her that becoming a midwife would help her be a changemaker. On top of being a student, she’s a trainee at one of the largest hospitals in the state. She regularly interacts with patients, talks with them about their care, and conducts follow-up visits at their homes after delivery. This dramatically reduces infections and addresses potential complications early enough to be treated. The infant mortality rate is 1,150 per 100,000 live births, primarily due to postpartum hemorrhages. And while these are preventable and treatable, they are only avoidable with help from a trained midwife or access to a health center. A painful memory for Hellen was when an unconscious pregnant woman was wheeled into the labor unit. The woman was going through labor for hours at home. Once she arrived at the hospital, the nurses realized she had obstructed labor. Hellen and the other midwives tried their best to save her life, but she lost too much blood, and sadly, the mother and baby passed away. MHSI students have been able to help the hospital as part of their training. However, while it’s an excellent opportunity for these future health workers to get real-life training and acquire needed skills, more is required to help overturn the status of a country with one of the worst health indicators globally. Sometimes, Hellen must juggle between actively delivering multiple newborns and attending to new mothers, a challenging task for even an experienced midwife. Miriam is a mother whom Hellen helped deliver a baby for. After seeing Miriam throughout her pregnancy, Hellen got a late-night call to assist with Miriam’s delivery. She had several complications during her pregnancy and was facing a potential c-section due to the baby lying abnormally. But, with Hellen’s help, they resolved her issues, and she safely delivered Baby Joel. These moments keep Hellen motivated to work and study despite the challenges. Though she is in her last year of training, Hellen has already impacted her community as a midwife trainee. As a proud student of MHSI, she is grateful that the institute is responsible for training most of the health workers in the region. Hellen says, “knowledge is a very powerful tool.” By communicating and checking in with her patients at the hospital and home, she and the other midwife students can help mothers, infants, and families across South Sudan have the strongest start on this next chapter of life.

Featured Client:

Amref Health Africa

Thematic Areas: