Honorine’s story

Burkina Faso

«I have been a midwife for 33 years. I teach at the Burkina Faso School of Public Health.»

When I was little, every time I was sent to give food to a new childbirth I was curious and when I saw the midwife in her outfit I told myself that after God it was her. To help bring a baby into the world you have to be as powerful as the Lord.

At the very beginning of my career, I was assigned for my first post in a rural, very rural environment, completely deprived. I was the first midwife. The maternity ward was managed by matrons until then. Everything had to be reorganized. The women were completely destitute, poor and illiterate. It was very hard. When it was necessary to evacuate a woman for complications, the family had to bear the costs. Out of 10 women to be evacuated, only one managed to leave. The others stayed there and I was helpless. There was no ambulance. When the family could not afford the fuel, the women left on a bicycle or motorbike. There was no equipment, no medicine, and I had 30 deliveries a month. I was very stressed and not supervised. We had neither a telephone nor a national radio. It was total isolation for 4 years.

There are not 36,000 solutions to improve the health of women and children in our country. The midwife must go and descend to the community level instead of remaining cloistered in large centers. But to do this, we posed the problem to the ministry because the conditions are not met. If only housing, for example. There is a lot to be done to improve the supervision of midwives. Today we have about 40 private schools for the same training grounds. Which represents more students than patients. Some leave school without having had 10 deliveries.

©Sophie Garcia / UNICEF



Improving access to competent obstetrical personnel is one of the strengths of the French Muskoka Fund. More than 30,000 health personnel (doctors, nurses, midwives, CHWs) have received support, thanks to the combined action of the agencies.

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