Melese Gabure is a Senior Midwife and Masters Student in Reproductive Health based out of Ethiopia. Gabure is also a coordinator for maternal, newborn, and child health at the Dr. Bogalech Gebre Memorial General Hospital. The following blog post was written by Gabure regarding his journey to becoming a midwife in Ethiopia.
My name is Melese. I was born in the rural, Southern part of Ethiopia. When I was a child, I used to listen to stories about my friends’ mothers dying during childbirth. As I grew up, I began hearing about the same cause of death more frequently. Thus, since very young, I asked myself questions like: “Why does one mother die during childbirth while another does not?”, “How could a mother die but the child survives?” or instead, “How come a mother can survive while the child does not?”
As a seventh grader, I asked my biology teacher several questions while we were talking about “secondary sexual characteristics” (features that appear during puberty in humans). I asked him what causes maternal death during childbirth, why the menstrual cycle only occurs in females, and why a woman’s fertility declines earlier in time compared to men. Although the teacher answered all my questions, I only remember him saying one thing: “In Ethiopia, there are (only) a few professionals who can attend to the giving birth process appropriately.” That day, it never crossed my mind that I would be joining such an expensive profession, but my dream came true as I joined university and graduated as a competent midwife.
During my journey of becoming a midwife, people had a lot of comments and questions. People kept saying things like “You are a male, can you really handle it?” or “Oh! You’re not going to have a life (as a midwife).” Despite these words, I believed in one thing: career has no gender, nor does your dream or passions. Anyone can succeed with hard work.
Midwifery was the thing that caught my attention. As a health professional, you must treat patients with knowledge, passion, and all your heart. However, as a midwifery, you learn the added art and skill of generational care (pregnancy, childbirth, postpartum period), and the sexual and reproductive health of women throughout their lives. Since this fascinated me, I decided to study midwifery and become a midwife.
The practice of midwifery is tedious. I spend multiple nights without adequate rest as I follow and tend to mothers in labor. Moreover, I miss multiple holidays and family gatherings due to my duties in the maternity ward. But since my first clinical contact until now, my fatigue is compensated by my work relieving clients from their physical and psychological stress. Missed holidays with my parents and family are compensated by my experiences extending appropriate care to my clients and making sure they are not worried. My body, mind, and spirit overflows with my clients’ blessings. There is no other place besides my clients’ bedsides that gives me holistic pleasure.
In many sub-Saharan countries including Ethiopia (which is where I’m from), there are profound reproductive health problems that remain to be addressed by the government. At my current workplace, I face many challenges treating reproductive health problems that can be easily prevented if women were adequately educated and screened during antenatal care and postnatals follow ups.
Story written by Melese Gabure and developed by Kaitlyn Gosakti
Now as a next step, we ask what could be done to lower the costs of the implementation of the E-MOTIVE bundle? The most obvious answer is to consider displacing the tens of thousands of disposable plastic drapes with a purpose-built reusable device.
Fortunately one of the obstetricians involved in the E-MOTIVE study, Dr. Justus Hofmeyr, had been innovating around this very issue, designing a tray with wells that could fit under a woman’s buttocks, collect and accurately measure the. blood. This tray, theMaternaWellTraywas conceived as a device that could be sterilized and reused, and is manufactured in South Africa by Umoya.
The Pumani bubbleCPAP was designed to meet this need for Malawi and is now widely available through Maternova. We had a few questions about post-research phases of the Pumani bubbleCPAP which we posed to Jocelyn Brown, inventor of the Pumani bubbleCPAP, and Molly McCabe, Director of Product Management.