Despite pandemic and security concerns preventing us from traveling to Niger since November of 2019, our work training traditional birth attendants continues. Prior to the pandemic, we had prepared several women to become trainers themselves, and they have been able to begin conducting training sessions – a bit sooner than we had anticipated! This training happened in large part due to a generous donation from John Massey. This funding helped extend our reach further into nomadic regions and communities. It was possible because all the material we needed had finally become available in Niger in 2019.
Currently we are planning a mission for November of this year. We have invited Jen Stevens, DrPH, CNM, an expert in international health and midwifery who is very interested in the mission. We are in discussion with our nomad leaders to help identify what they believe are their specific needs for further training. Our hope is to bring as many as possible of the entire group of our trainees together for a convention (of sorts). Their number is now As medical professionals, we remain in touch with colleagues and stay current by reading journals and attending conferences. The matrones are separated by long distances without transportation and do not read. We believe an opportunity to gather together to access and share knowledge with each other will enhance their professional development immeasurably. Additionally, we plan to continue teacher development so that training for new matrones can continue. Jen’s vast experience will bring a fresh perspective to the project and our work. It is her hope to record, translate, transcribe, and analyze matrone shared experiences. There is very little published information about nomad practices, and our mission may provide a great opportunity to change that.
Wish us luck, and consider a generous donation to support our work. Like everything else in the world, the cost of the mission has jumped considerably and we need all the help we can get.