Joséphine Djiboune, a Celebrated Heroine of Health

by Amref Health Africa

In the remote and rural region of Médina district, Senegal, midwife Joséphine Djiboune, was determined to make a lasting difference for women villagers, despite the challenges of limited services and inadequate health infrastructure.

As a mother of three and with her husband living hours away in Dakar, Ms. Djiboune drew inspiration from her childhood experiences. She recalls bringing meals to her sister, also a midwife, at the local health center. Witnessing the joy of delivering babies and helping women in need fueled her passion for the profession. “I truly love children and newborn babies,” she says.

Ms. Djiboune has made a major contribution to the numbers of prenatal and postnatal consultations, and to increasing the number of deliveries in facilities with the assistance of qualified health workers. Thanks to her work in strengthening access to healthcare and her commitment to combating gender-based violence, she was promoted to Reproductive Health Coordinator in the Médina Yoro Foulah district by the State of Senegal in 2016 and named an Amref “Champion” in 2022. 

In the her district, she manages the health center, trains midwives, engages with the community, and supervises management staff to further strengthen access, quality of care and reproductive rights for women.

Clinicians face significant challenges in Médina. There are not enough health services for a population of nearly 200,000. Many have to endure long journeys on foot or by motorbike, often covering 15 kilometers, just to reach the nearest health center.

“You can see how difficult it is for women to get the support when they need it,” she explains. “It’s a hard-to-reach area, with a significant illiterate population who often faces a debt burden as a result of their health costs.”

To address these obstacles, Ms. Djiboune led the establishment of new health facilities at the district level. By providing midwives and nurses in these posts, she anticipates a brighter future where outcomes for newborns can be improved. She highlights the importance of intra-district transport, such as motorcycles, which play a vital role in ensuring prompt medical attention for infants in distress.

Ms. Djiboune is committed to raising awareness in the community, utilizing public radio broadcasts as a platform to bring health services closer to the people. Recognizing the critical importance of adequate resources in the healthcare system, she also advocates for improved health services throughout Senegal.

Despite the challenging conditions, Ms. Djiboune is determined to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates. “I believe we will get there and enable the health system to reach its full potential,” she states confidently.

As a midwife and healthcare professional, Ms. Djiboune recognizes the social responsibility that comes with her profession. She believes that everyone, regardless of their background, has a right to health. Through her dedication and hard work, she strives to improve the overall well-being of the Senegalese people.

“We’ve chosen to be midwives, health workers, health professionals, so it is our duty to stay here to help the community improve their health,” she says.

Article first published on

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