September 25, 2014

“It is the task of the midwife, where there are women and children, that is where we go”

This post originally appeared on the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) website here. Reposted with permission.

“My name is Mazidatul, but people usually call me Zizi. I am 24 years old and a female midwife from Indonesia. I graduated from PGRI Adi Buana University in Surabaya, East Java with a Diploma Degree in Midwifery. Right now I am preparing to go to another hidden paradise in Indonesia, in Sulawesi. I am not going alone, but with my team: a doctor from Bali, a nurse from Lampung, a nutritionist from Malang, and an epidemiologist from Pekanbaru. We will go to a small village called Ogotua, which is on the island of Sulawesi.

There, I and my teammates will be assigned to provide primary health care especially to the mother and child. Along with providing health care, I and the team have a program to empower local communities to increase the quality of healthcare by building relationships with local authorities. In addition, we also strive to educate health professionals in the area on how to construct a program, how to convey it to the public, how to run it and how to evaluate it. We will also make a big effort to approach the community and gain their trust, so that when they are sick or need medical assistance, they can come to see us or other health care workers to receive proper medical attention.

The reason I dare to go into the interior of the country for my placement is that I realized there are many mothers and children outside the large city where I grew up; there are many women and children who have not received optimal health care. As a midwife I also think that whoever and wherever women and children are, they are entitled to the same health services, whether in big cities or in the countryside.

I am expecting some challenges such as the difference between the facilities, difficulty of access to the facility as it will require a longer time to get there, but I am confident that I can help the women and children to obtain good health care. This will be my first time to provide midwifery services in a small village. I have never done this before but I feel very happy knowing that I will go to this place. I am prepared for not having the same amenities as in the city, like good internet signal, close access to referral clinics, large and comfortable streets. But I think this is the task of the midwife, where there are women and children, that is where we go. To reach other villages of up to a distance of ± 100 km we will use road vehicles. Several other villages are located on a small island so I will have to use boats to get there. To provide services on the island I normally will stay 2-3 days there. Most villages do not have a midwife, so I won’t be able to ask for assistance or for help in monitoring the pregnant women, newborns and infants in the village.

This will be very challenging, but even so I am very excited to be away from the big city, because this kind of experience will be such a valuable lesson for my future: get out of my comfort zone; dealing with a completely different society than the people of the city, where the culture is still very strong; myth-myth in society. I am hoping that maybe the people will even start to trust me, they will develop a completely different understanding for health care and learn the difference this makes. I am so excited to learn what the future brings and see the contribution I can make in addition to the usual simple things midwives do such as provide reproductive health services, antenatal care, delivery care, birth control, immunizations, routine infant weighing, and so on.

icm-zizi-fullWe are also trying to be a bridge between the local government, local health care providers and the society to ensure the government knows how the condition of the society is and what it needs, not only in the health sector, but in all respects. Not only in terms of health, but also in education, empowerment of women and so on. It will not be easy to get into the community, but surely I will earn the trust of the community members. I hope to gain the trust of the customary chief or chief in the area, so the community can be approached through community leaders.

In the village we will be staying in a house that has been prepared by the government, with close access to the services however, our task is not only to stay there, we also have to go directly to the people in the village. There are approximately 10 midwives in smaller villages scattered around us, including 2 midwives in each separate island, but according to the secretary of the health department there, midwives still need guidance to be more forward in providing information and education to the people for optimal service.

That is what I will do, share what I’ve learnt, what I know, what I can achieve with them and I will learn much from them, how to know the society. But mostly I want to make the midwives brave to go forward in public.”