We are all navigating the major disruptions in our lives that COVID-19 has brought. I hope you are all doing that successfully and in good health. Some of the necessary changes have not been all bad. We have been trying for many years to find a way for our programs to be completed entirely by local staff. We took our first step in February with a training of 7 new matrones in Iferouane. We have just completed another training in the Tamesna region. It was not easy. First, our assistant trainer Fatima was very ill. We think she may have had COVID. She is a nomad and this was in February before COVID hit the world. She was never tested, but soon after her illness, we sent out a mission to disseminate information about the virus. She recovered after two months and then the rains hit. They were so severe this year that all the routes for passage by car in nomad territory were blocked our trainees could not get to us so finally just two weeks ago we went to them. Most could get to where Fatima was camped so Rabi, our clinic nurse, and head trainer took all the equipment out–six of the eight planned trainees were able to get to Fatima’s tent–and that is where they learned to deliver babies safely.
I am so proud of our local staff for getting this done in spite of all the obstacles. It is our biggest step yet toward what we have been working toward for years–turning it over.