Hope is better than nothing
by Maria Iorillo
I keep thinking about Sara from Uganda. She runs a 15-bed clinic along with 2 other midwives. She receives $5 per delivery. Some women come for prenatal care and not too many people come postpartum. Once a healthy baby is born, most of her clients feel they don't need to return.
Sara came all the way to Washington, DC to represent the Ugandan Midwifery Association at the Symposium to Strengthen Midwifery. She received a scholarship to attend Women Deliver. The UMA has over 2000 midwives and was started in 1948 when the government tried to make midwives retire at 55. You can imagine what the midwives said to that! So they formed an organization to better represent themselves to the powers that be. Sara says the UMA is the best midwifery organization in the world.
When the Symposium was almost over, Sara was discouraged and asked me what would happen on the ground. On my last day with Sara, we were walking from store after I had bought chocolate for her to take home to her children. She was hopeful, particularly because I had just made a blog for her that morning. She wants to use the blog to tell the stories of maternal death in Uganda. She wants to post about the midwifery meetings they will have. She has a new vehicle for communication. She is going home with SOMETHING already in her pocket. She says that hope is better than nothing. She says that she has a new friend, she has a blog, and that she knows that she is not forgotten. That the women of Uganda are not forgotten. Sara decided to call her blog, Women for Survival.
I keep thinking about Sara and our fast friendship. I am thinking about our partnership and how one-on-one we can help each other strengthen midwifery. I know so well how the Bay Area's midwifery community has grown simply because of the one-on-one support we give each other. Why can't we do that across the global? I guess I'm saying there's no reason why not.