Women

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife

Photos: D. Dorn

Helping others brings Fulfillment

January 13, 2020

A Christian Health Clinic in Ethiopia with a maternity ward has received help in the form of an experienced midwife. You might recognize her on the photo! Yes, our Women’s Ministries director for the Inter-European Division, Dagmar Dorn, sends us warm greetings from Ethiopia.
Dagmar is currently using part of her vacation for a midwifery mission in Ethiopia. It is already the third time that she works as a midwife in a Health Center of a Swiss mission in a rural area. 
In addition to the general outpatient clinic, the Health Center also offers prenatal care and births.  The number of births there per year is about 780. Since 2015, the country has stipulated that every woman must give birth in a health institution in order to reduce maternal and infant mortality. Currently, the infant mortality rate in Ethiopia is 48 per 1000 live births (Europe 4 per 1000) (source: indexmundi.com 2018) 
As a midwife, Dagmar’s intention is to help the women, to accompany them professionally and to offer them a safe birth. At the same time it is important to her to work together with the local staff, to support and train them.

"For me it is always an immersion in a completely different world and culture, absolutely not comparable to my own. But it helps me to come back to the base, to see what really matters. It enriches my personal life as well as my relationship with God. I become much more aware of my dependence on Him under such circumstances. Situations arise where in Switzerland I would have a doctor at my side, but here I have to decide independently and bear the responsibility. Recently I had a twin birth, and the birth was so far advanced that a transfer to a clinic was no longer possible. In such situations I am glad to have God at my side. I am grateful that everything went well and that mother and children are in good health.

Since Dagmar’s last stay, a new project has been added to the Health Center. A Swiss midwife, who has been working there for almost 30 years, had a special burden on her heart, which has now been realized. Two years ago the Health Center launched a new emphasis, helping teenage girls who get pregnant to keep their babies instead of resorting to abortion. The midwife sees her work as being God’s hands and heart for the people she is working with.

In addition to her work in Women’s Ministries, Dagmar loves to work hands on to help women at a time when they really depend on help from others. As is typical of all midwives, she wants to be there for women when they give birth. But she also wants to empower women and help them to use their resources and become independent. In her encounters with people she tries to see them as Jesus does, respecting and accepting them as they are.

As the world celebrates the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale, the
Duchess of Cambridge expressed her appreciation so well for the work of nurses and midwives in an open letter to midwives in December 2019 that we want to quote her words: “Next year the world turns its attention to the International Year of the Nurse and Midwife, and recognising and celebrating the humbling work that you and your colleagues do day in, day out, to improve the lives of others. You are there for women at their most vulnerable; you witness strength, pain and unimaginable joy on a daily basis. Your work often goes on behind the scenes, and away from the spotlight. …. You don’t ask for praise or for recognition but instead unwaveringly continue your amazing work bringing new life into our world. You continue to demonstrate that despite your technical mastery and the advancement of modern medicine, it is the human to human relationships and simple acts of kindness that sometimes mean the most.”
Modern medicine may not have reached many parts of the world, but the help of midwives is appreciated wherever babies are born. We thank all nurses and midwives for their service.

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