Taking it to the Village
By Sokoine Kipaiwa
My name is Sokoine Kipaiwa, and I have one year and a half working at FAME reception. I recently started new responsibilities as a community outreach counselor. My first task, working on a project for our Every Mother Counts grant, was to make sure that we visit, as much as we can, all the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) around the nearby areas of Karatu District and Ngorongoro. Our main goal is to make pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother by informing all the nearby communities about the new services we offer at FAME medical, including Reproductive and Child Health (RCH), the delivery ward and the operating theater.
I remember my first visit was at Jilambo Village in the Karatu District on June 2nd at 10:30am. The RCH team and I visited one active TBA, Regina Christopher, at her own home. The first question she asked us was “why is FAME visiting the TBAs? Why are you using your time and money this way?” We thought she was going to chase us away from her home, so I had to look down and so did my fellows, and everyone was quiet. Then she said “we are a community of low income and so very poor that nobody ever remembers to visit you at your home.”
Then my heart began to pound, and I told her “Bibi, we are both human, and we were born to help each other every time in every place without minding costs and time we spend.” We explained to her the importance of working together with the local dispensary’s health providers and home birth attendants as well. We explained the signs for pregnant women to seek help at a hospital, danger signs during labor or birth, danger signs during pregnancy, danger signs after birth, and for the newborn, and all the other services we offer at FAME. We gave her our brochures and emergency cell phone numbers.
She was very delighted to hear that FAME Medical was cooperating with the TBAs and providing quality healthcare services within Karatu villages and nearby areas. She said, “throughout my life, now I’m 67 years old, I never held and shared information from health organizations who educated and appeared to a TBA like me, but only you are doing this in our village” She provided with us her cell phone number for anything we need from her and said we can call her back at any time and she will be together with us and help us. Finally, every one of us was very happy to have met with an active and experienced TBA as we start our outreach program.