Christine Akello, a midwife with a passion for young people

Midwives improve health in AfricaChristine Akello, 28, is a qualified enrolled midwife working in a remote sub county of Lalogi, Uganda where the health centre she works in is located, about 145 km from Gulu Town in the north.

Christine was determined to excel in her studies with the intention to come back home to support the rehabilitation of the tattered health sector. She strongly felt that by using the skills attained from training school, she would support her community and this would go a long way in improving the health situation of her community.

One of Amref Health Africa’s strategic priorities is to build the capacity of frontline health services to provide reproductive and maternal health services with a focus on women and young people. In a bid to achieve this, Amref Health Africa, in close partnership with the Gulu District local government, tailor-made training programmes for health workers who have championed health care for youth. Studies have shown that the majority of young people avoid seeking services at a health facility because of the poor attitude of health workers towards youth.

Christine is one of the health workers selected by her unit to participate in the mentorship training because she had expressed interest in working closely with the youth. After completing the training, Christine helped the youth take up free health care services and to start using the health centre. She started a special day every week at the facility dedicated for health workers to attend to youth. The Health Unit Management has since allocated clinic rooms for youth activities. Thrilled by the positive administrative support, Christine works even harder. She works closely with the youth every Wednesday as well as performs her midwifery duties in the Ward, Antenatal unit and Labour suite. On average, Christine provides reproductive health services every Wednesday to at least 25 youth.

"Working with youth calls for creativity, patience and dedication." -Christine Akello, Amref Health Africa-Trained Midwife, Uganda

Christine speaks fondly of the youth, a sign that she is enthusiastic about her work. "Working with youth calls for creativity, patience and dedication," she says. There are a number of activities that she has established to ensure that the youth are active, happy, approachable, stress-free, healthy and bright to retain their attention and minimize incidences where they engage in harmful practices. And to Christine this is what she does best.

Since Amref Health Africa started the program about a year ago, the facility has become a bee hive of activities. “And this has attracted a number of partners to the facility to come and witness and learn from us because even the poor attitude some Health Workers had towards youth has changed for the better; youth no longer fear opening up to the health workers because the dramas, skits, poems, songs and educational videos we show communicate a lot of behavioural change messages which cut across irrespective of age,” says Christine.