Abeba is a Traditional Birth Attendant in a pastoralist area of South Omo, Ethiopia.
Since receiving training on safe delivery and a delivery kit from us three years ago, she has delivered over 60 babies. She enjoys her work and says she feels happy when a new baby is delivered into this world.
Before childbirth, she advises pregnant women to work less and not to carry water, grind grain or do anything strenuous. Afterwards, she recommends they have hot drinks, ensure they keep their breasts and babies clean, and avoid putting mud or butter in their hair (this is traditionally used as a red hair dye) because it’s unhygienic.
When a birth is complicated, Abeba tells people to bring the mother to the health centre or mobile outreach camp run by Health Poverty Action. She goes too, even though this means dropping everything at home (often spoiling dinner!) and her role there includes helping the mother to feel at ease by translating from Amharic into her own language. She is well known by both her community and government health staff for being an excellent birth attendant. Neither a woman nor baby has ever died during a delivery she has assisted with, which she puts down to the blessing bestowed upon her by the elders in her village. If she sends a message that a vehicle is needed to take a woman in labour to the health centre, health staff do everything they can to get one because they know she wouldn’t ask for one unless the woman’s life depended on it.
Abeba praises the mobile outreach camps we have set up in South Omo and hopes the staff keep up their good work wherever they move to next. She also passes on her thanks for her safe delivery kit which enables her to provide more hygienic conditions for deliveries in her community, which in turn helps to prevent infections for the mother and newborn child.