There is no health care in the villages of Darfur. Young girls getting married in remote villages face childbirth with no trained assistance. In some villages there may be a Traditional Birth Attender (TBA) – someone who has ‘survived childbirth’. She will have had no medical training. If there is obstructed birth, ‘rope delivery’ is the only possible help, with subsequent damage to the baby – if it survives.
Increased risk due to FGM: Sadly, because Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is extremely common, many women risk obstructed labour, making it even more important that they have trained medical help available. Without such help, fistula (long term incontinence) is a major risk. There is no fistula hospital in Darfur and the only operations available are in Khartoum, thousands of miles away. Although the transitional Government has now made FGM illegal it will take many years before it is eradicated. Mothers get themselves sown up again, after giving birth, so the dangers go on.
Since 2002 Kids for Kids has been funding the training of 2 Village Midwives in every Kids for Kids’ village. These amazing women travel from their villages to El Fasher, the regional capital, which some may never have seen before. They leave their families behind and dedicate 14 months to their training. Those who are illiterate are taught to read and write. 98% of women are illiterate in Darfur – amongst the highest number in the world. We have funded the construction of a Midwives Training School in El Fasher which trains 40 midwives each season. We are now also building Health Centres in our larger villages.
We share the cost of training with the Darfur State Ministry of Health. This ensures the support of the Government. It costs Kids for Kids £2,000 to train a Village Midwife and to provide her with a smart white tobe (sari uniform) and leather sandals, plus providing her with medical equipment. Leather sandals are a sign of status in Darfur! We also provide a fast and strong crossbred donkey so she can travel more easily between the villages, plus a solar lantern so that mothers will not give birth by the flickering light of a fire. There is no electricity in villages.
The difference these young women make is incredible. In 18 months alone our midwives delivered 1057 healthy babies – including twins – and no one mother died in childbirth. They were successful too in sending expectant mothers to the distant hospital if they were worried about complications – and all were safely delivered of healthy babies!
There are already 308 trained Kids for Kids’ village midwives working in remote villages. We are now seeking your help to fund 40 more midwives this year.
Training for one midwife to support a village to save lives and teach hygiene.