First, it never crossed your mind that you would ever be in this kind of training. Second, the tools you get are things you always desired but never could afford. Third, they treat you with much more respect than you’ve ever got from the ‘educated’ folks in the decades of your practice. You couldn’t help but love them and stay open to all they had to say.
More so, your satisfaction is full and your joy boundless.
The above is the testimony and internal dialogue of almost every other traditional birth attendant (TBA) who participated in the TBA Support Program of the GEANCO Foundation. The program which was a community health intervention program (CHIP) was held in Enugu on Friday 3rd and Saturday 4th April 2020. The CHIP gathered 15 traditional birth attendants for two days. COVID19 precautionary measures, antiseptic birth attendance techniques, referral indicators and maternal nutrition were the topics covered.
The Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA)
TBAs are women who have the skill of attending to child deliveries. They belong to the African traditional health care system. They hold the ancient body of knowledge for maternity, childbirth and infant care. They are bound by both duty and love for man to carry out their function of ensuring the perpetuation of the society to which they belong.
In the old African society, these birth attendants were loved and revered. It was an honour to be in this special group. Fast forward to the advent of orthodox – and ‘western’ medicine, the birth attendants lost their place gradually. Today, only a few segments of society – most of them, the rural poor – go to the birth attendants. To the rest of modern Africa, the TBAs are only a vestige of what used to be. But to some of the little schooled and poor rural people, the TBAs remain their only (or preferred) child delivery ‘facility.
“We never dreamed about this” – the trained TBAs
The single strand that cut across the testimonies of the TBAs was that they never saw the training coming. They could never have predicted that this will happen. The content, the context, the approach, and other elements of the program were all new developments for them. They have never had that! The overall effect was a feeling of deep appreciation and encouragement. For once, it was clear to them, their duty to the group they serve is seen and appreciated.
“We are deeply satisfied” – the execution team
For the planners and organizers of the program, it was a fulfilling project. The thrill of getting a project which was some months back simply an idea is satisfying. Yes, lots of energy and time was spent. But now the program is done, the pains and inconveniences are no longer remembered. All that is left is to bath in the joy of achievement and to the thrill of the excitement written on the faces of the participants.
You Made This Happen
We are hopeful that just as the beneficiaries and field workers are satisfied. You, our esteemed donor finds great satisfaction in knowing that your money has added value to lives. Thank you for always listening to us.
A Sneak Peek Into Our Newly Launched Internship Program
We had been planning this internship program for three months now. The goal of the internship is to build a pool of capable people for projects and operations management in the healthcare programs we run. This ensures we have the manpower to grow, the interns can use their skills to get good jobs and make an impact in other areas of healthcare. Thirdly, the skills they learn are useful outside of healthcare and so position them generally for better employment. The first two points are more central and relevant to our organisation and our supporters, while the third point is a collateral benefit for the interns.
The internship program fits into our calling to transform lives. Through the program the selected interns gain professional exposure; office productivity, project management and operations management skills. The internship is a perfect mix of teaching, training, coaching and project work. We are hopeful that the interns will be better positioned for productivity in health care project planning and operations management.
When fully trained, the interns will be deployed to field works on primary healthcare centres monitoring and repositioning projects, and the maternal and infant healthcare program. They will also be involved in the capacity development of health care workers and traditional birth attendants.
The focus areas on the program include:
1) Project Planning
2) Operations Management
3) Office Productivity tools
4) Project site visits and involvement
5) Seminars and Workshops
Your continued support helps us sustain our involvements in Nigeria. We consider this internship program as the beginning phases of something bigger – capacity building for the Nigerian healthcare support ecosystem.