Rahma Salih, 25, is one of the midwifery program graduates who received a series of trainings supported by Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia. Rahma is passionate about helping women as they go through labour and give birth. This is why she joined the health workforce as a midwife.
Rahma grew up witnessing pregnant women in Afar region of Ethiopia choosing not to go to health posts because they wanted to avoid physical contact with male health workers during labour and delivery. “I began to be worried about this, among several other things, has become one of the reasons why women avoid going to health facilities. I was worried because I had had at least limited knowledge about the consequences of not giving birth at the health posts,’’ Rahma recalled.
Rahma began to search for opportunities that could make her dream a reality – that is, pursuing her education and becoming a midwife. She later learned that Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia provides financial support to women candidates for midwifery training in Afar, in collaboration with the Afar Regional Health Bureau. Fortunately, Rahma became one of the candidates who got the chance to join Semra Health Science College with which Amref Health Africa works to support the national upgrading training program of health extension workers as well as train midwives in the region.
“Had it not been for Amref Health Africa, my dream of becoming a midwife and serving my community, especially women, could not have been a reality. This is the success our region and Amref Health Africa have to celebrate,” said Rahma, who has been selected by Afar Regional Heath Bureau to work at Dubti Woreda as a Mobile Health Team member.
Rahma has gained knowledge and skills to assist mothers in labour that has enabled her to effectively deal with managing pregnancy-related complications, such as pregnancy-induced hypertension. She has also learned how to provide professional care to a newborn babies, how to create awareness about avoiding harmful practices during labour, early detection and treatment of postpartum infection and how to give first aid to those in need. “This is why I have been selected by Afar Regional Health Bureau to join the mobile health team and serve my community,” Rahma says.
Amref Health Africa has been working with the Afar Regional Health Bureau for the last 12 years in maternal, neonatal and child health, water and sanitation, and capacity building through the strengthening of Ethiopia’s health extension program and midwifery training. Supporting the strengthening of the health workforce in Afar has greatly improved the number of skilled female birth attendants, who provide vital grassroots health services.