As we continue to research for ourselves natural childbirth and midwifery care as the gold standard of birth care by gathering real women’s experiences, our own Patricia McRoss brings us this report upon her return from the most recent trip by MOMS into Sierra Leone. MOMS brings necessary skills training to the Traditional Birth Attendants (TBAs) they are educating under the approval of the local tribes and government.  The achievements accomplished by TBAs around the world are understated in America.   It is our thought that if the TBAs of developing countries are successful w/o technology and caring for very poor women then how much more could the midwives of developed nations caring for healthy women accomplish if only they had the respect this article notes for TBAs?

Trish reports on MOMS:

The TBAs in the Jokibu area of Sierra Leone’s Kailahun District were so thrilled with the opportunity to learn that they were coming to class without breakfast or lunch – this is the “hungry time” there, and they had no food that they could bring to class. When we learned about that, we went to Kenema (a 3 hour ride over the typically abominable roads there) and bought rice, eggs, vegetables, and peanut butter. We didn’t budget for that, but we couldn’t let the women go hungry.

They were again so thrilled with their learning that they came to class early to tell us about the births they attended in the night and their very first experiences of doing prenatal and postnatal care!
They were walking home after class, stopping to work in their farms till dark, then went home and fixed dinner and tended their kids, then went out again to the pregnant women in their villages to provide the new kind of care they were learning. Can you imagine that? They had heard of prenatal care, but never been taught how to do it. They had never heard of postnatal care. But they were determined to be “MOMS TBAs” and do it right.

So in the mornings, we listened to the stories:

* I saw the woman who had delivered two days ago. I smelled her vagina – it was a little bad, so I brought her to the clinic on the way to class today (it was actually about a 2-mile walk out of the
way). I hope that the nurse will give her the medicine to heal the infection. I never would have done this, until you taught us.
* I helped deliver a baby last night. The mother was bleeding, but I put the baby to the breast right away like you told us – and the bleeding slowed to just a trickle.
* I helped with a baby last night. I didn’t cut the cord until the placenta was born – it came out so fast, the mother didn’t bleed much at all, and the baby is so strong!
* I saw a pregnant woman last night. I palpated her belly like you taught us and she is about 7 months. The baby is transverse, so I taught her the exercises you showed us. I’ll be sure to let you know what happens!

And so on.

So, I came home exhausted and thrilled as is usual.