Franka Cadée Calls for Midwives to Take Action

”All midwives here know when it’s time to breathe and when it’s time to push. This is our time to push!”

Franka Cadée, the new President of the International Confederation of Midwives closed the 31st Triennial Congress by addressing midwives from around the world with the main message that it is time to “humanize midwifery care – together”. She mentioned that many women across the world are at risk of receiving care too little too late or too much too soon. 

Young Midwifery Leader, Samara Ferrara, from Mexico had the opportunity to speak with Franka Cadée prior to the end of the Congress. She asked how the new president is planning to continue the work to ensure universal access to maternal, newborn and child health care, as well as, how she will support midwives in Mexico to have improved quality education. Franka Cadée also sends her key message to midwives as they return home to their communities. See the two videos below.

GenH Challenge: Submit your Ideas

In recognition of the impact midwives are creating across the world, Johnson & Johnson has launched a new initiative – the GenH Challenge. Midwives are everyday pioneers of ingenuity, although many might not realise it, or feel particularly comfortable referring to themselves in such a way! This exciting opportunity hopes to encourage midwives to see themselves as innovators with the power to help to create the healthiest generation in human history – “GenH”.

The GenH Challenge is looking to discover brand new ideas from the front lines of care that can change the trajectory of health. If this sounds daunting, don’t worry! The competition welcomes ideas in their earliest stages, and it welcomes small ideas that have the potential to create great impact.

The initiative launched on 19 June 2017 at the 31st Triennial ICM Congress, with midwives coming together with Johnson & Johnson’s GenH Challenge team to talk about what human-centred design really means in an interactive workshop. Human-centred design, the J&J team explained, is one of those terms that many people find off-putting, as it sounds a little like jargon, but it simply means designing everything we do with the person we’re trying to serve at the heart of it all. It is putting a human being first and doing everything else from there. It is what most midwives are doing every single day from the moment they arrive at work.

Midwives have always, by the very nature of what they do, exemplified human centred design. When an expecting mother comes to a midwife with a question or a worry, the midwife focuses on the human in front of them. The GenH Challenge is therefore an opportunity for midwives to be supported in what they already do, day in and day out, and to connect those at the front lines of care with the resources they need to make the greatest impact possible.

So perhaps it’s time to ask yourself: what can I affect? What problems do I see, and what can I make better? If you’re starting to think of an idea, or even a seed of an idea, Girls’ Globe encourages you wholeheartedly to register, and to submit your application. Nobody else can see the world through your eyes, nobody else can speak up with your voice, and so your unique ideas really do matter!

Applications from anywhere in the world are eligible, and so long as your team includes someone who works at the front lines of care, any for-profit or non-profit organizations can apply. The only other rules are that your idea must have received under $250,000 in funding or been in development for 5 years or under.

You can apply any time until 4 October 2017. Full guidelines are available at www.genhchallenge.com.

Even if you don’t currently think of yourself as an innovator, you truly can be a pioneer of ingenuity by taking part in this exciting opportunity. This is your chance to transform midwifery for the future. Good luck!

Meet Midwife Dorcas: training to save lives at birth

In celebration of midwives worldwide, Kupona Foundation colleague, Dorcas – a midwife trainer at our sister organization, CCBRT – shares how her team is ensuring mothers and babies in the Dar es Salaam region survive and thrive.

Being a Midwife is Something Precious

“For the past 37 years, being a midwife has meant doing everything I can to save the lives of mothers and babies in Tanzania’s largest city, Dar es Salaam.

Midwife Dorcas, photographed by Sala Lewis

Tanzania has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Approximately 22 women die every day from mostly preventable complications in pregnancy or childbirth1. For the last 6 years, my team and I have worked to strengthen the quality of care provided in 23 health facilities in the Dar es Salaam region with the ultimate goal of seeing that mortality statistic reduced to zero.

As the Senior Midwife Trainer for CCBRT’s  Maternal and Newborn Health Capacity Building Team, I train medical teams in all 23 of our partner facilities. I work to empower the maternal health teams already in those facilities with the mentoring, training and resources they need to save more lives. Last year, we learned maternal mortality had reduced by 40% in the Dar es Salaam region thanks to our efforts, partnerships, and the support of the Government of Tanzania.”

High Quality Maternal Health Care for Every Woman

“I divide my time between three regional hospitals, smaller dispensaries, and health centers. The volume of patients at each facility varies depending on the day, but the goal is the same: provide the best care possible to mothers and babies. And that’s why I’m here.

One of these facilities serves 70,000 people, and hosts monthly antenatal care clinics for over 700 pregnant women. CCBRT has supported this hospital since 2011. We began by performing an SBMR (Standards Based Management and Recognition)2 assessment to identify the facility’s quality of care. This facility scored 2% (perfection is a score of 100%). While staff were dedicated to helping mothers and babies, they did not have the equipment, tools, and skills to provide high-quality care to their patients.

We began by working with staff to collect data on current operations, find the gaps in equipment and skills, and identify the key issues. We then hosted training to address the root cause of the problem and teach the intervention needed to solve it.

In November 2015, the facility’s quality of care had improved to 87% on the SBMR assessment. I was so proud. In 2011, the facility delivered 406 babies. As the skills and confidence of their service providers increased, so did the number of babies they delivered. In 2015, the hardworking staff surpassed this goal and assisted with 1,386 deliveries, with zero maternal deaths.

When I go back to the facility, I see the entire team is busy attending to patients. The matron is managing her team efficiently, and it has been fantastic to witness her growth as a leader over the years. As soon as a new staff member joins the team, they receive an orientation of the SBMR tool so that they understand the metrics we use. I see staff members, once young and inexperienced, assisting in the labor ward, performing their tasks expertly and respectfully.

I always say, it’s a long journey. But in this long journey, you cannot go by yourself. You need to have people around you. Collaborate with them. Do things together, work together to serve one goal. I’m proud to say that this is what we do with our partner facilities, each and every day, on the CCBRT Capacity Building team.”

Kupona Foundation empowers people and communities in Tanzania by improving their access to quality healthcare. 100% of our resources are dedicated to the continuation and sustainable growth of our sister organization in Tanzania, CCBRT. Since 2009, Kupona has raised over $3 million to support treatment, training, capital projects and organizational development at CCBRT. In that time, CCBRT has provided over 75,000 life changing surgeries for correctable impairments, over 570,000 clinical consultations, and, through training and capacity building efforts, has supported the safe delivery of over 550,000 babies. Learn more at kuponfoundation.org.

  1. Tanzania Demographic and Health Survey (TDHS) 2010, National Bureau of Statistics, Tanzania, April 2011, Dar es Salaam
  2. Measured by Standards-Based Management and Recognition (SBMR) assessments, developed by Jhpiego, an affiliate of Johns Hopkins University.

Girls’ Globe will be present at the 31st International Confederation of Midwives Triennial Congress – bringing you live coverage from Toronto, Canada via our #ICMLive hub. To keep up to date with all the action, use #ICMLive to join in online.

Menstrual Health Realities in Africa

This is an interview with the Southern African AIDS Trust (SAT) youth hub coordinator Ruvarashe Miti, who is based in Zimbabwe. SAT youth hubs are led by young people and are geared towards youth outreach, advocacy, and awareness activities around sexual and reproductive health rights (SRHR) issues.

The Zimbabwe Youth Hub Team, photo credit: Ruvarashe Miti

Nsovo Mayimele: What does menstrual health mean to you?

Ruvarashe Miti: Menstruation is linked to puberty, depending on the individual it can begin from the age of ten and marks a transition towards becoming a woman. Menstrual health is about having the knowledge and information around menstruation so that a girl’s needs can be met e.g. having sanitary ware, safe changing rooms and an ability to seek support and speak openly about menstruation, which is widely perceived as a taboo topic.

NM: Why is menstrual health important?

RM: SAT’s Girl Plan programmes (which are also for boys) place menstrual health among its key themes for innovative models for strengthened SRHR interventions. The themes are: ending gender-based violence, keeping girls in safe schools, comprehensive sexuality knowledge, ending child marriage and menstrual health. Among its programme activities, SAT in Zimbabwe is working with a community-based organization called Chiedza to produce re-useable sanitary pads.  The Youth Hub wholeheartedly support SAT’s efforts as menstrual health affects girls’ school attendance as well as their overall health and well-being, and not only during their period.

NM: Describe the communities you work in with the youth hub?

RM: The communities we live in today have strong existing beliefs on menstruation and so it can seem that there is limited space for change. There are many girls who come from families who are poor and unable to buy sanitary ware, some even use clothes when menstruating. Even if we do outreach around reusable sanitary ware or menstrual cups, it is not a given that the products will be used given power dynamics and existing traditions/ beliefs.

NM: Tell us about how you celebrated Menstrual Hygiene Day 2017? 

RM: SAT and the Youth Hub in Zimbabwe have been hosting weekly Menstrual Health Sessions to discuss various issues around menstrual health, like access to safe sanitary ware. The sessions culminated in an epic commemoration of Menstrual Hygiene Day 28 May with a Health Fitness session that reached out to communities around Harare.

NM: What are your goals for menstrual health, both in Zimbabwe and in Africa more widely?

RM: In Zimbabwe and Africa, every woman and girl should have adequate access to menstrual products and the necessary facilities e.g. clean water and changing facilities both at school and at home. No woman or girl should face any stigma – everyone deserves privacy and dignity.

NM: Who are your biggest supporters?

RM: The project is largely driven by youth and would not be possible without the many passionate volunteers that we have on board. Young people have already taken ownership of the project by organising outreach activities to three communities in Zimbabwe, and we have organised mass media campaigns too.

NM: What challenges do you face? 

RM: The projects are largely driven by females, with little male involvement and even during outreach activities, few men attend the sessions. There is a need for more male involvement to counter the stigma and be part of the solutions.