Health Workers Count – the Story a Community Health Worker in Afar

by Amref Health Africa

Rahma Salih, 25, is one of the midwifery program graduates, who received a series of training supported by Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia. Rahma was passionate about helping women as they labor and give birth. This is why she joined the health workforce as a midwife. She grew up witnessing pregnant women in Afar region refusing to go to health posts just to avoid any physical contact with male health workers during labor and delivery. “I began to be worried about this, among several other things, has become one of the reasons why women avoid going to health facilities. I was worried because I had had at least limited knowledge about the consequences of not giving birth at the health posts.’’ Rahma recalled.

Rahma begun to search for opportunities that could make her dream a reality, that is pursuing her education and becoming a midwife. She later learnt Amref Health Africa in Ethiopia provides financial support to women candidates for midwifery training in Afar, in collaboration with the Afar Regional Health Bureau. Fortunate enough, Rahma became one of the candidates who got the chance to join Semra Health Science College with which Amref works to support the national upgrading training program of health extension workers and train midwives in the region.

“Had it not been for Amref, my dream of becoming a midwife and serving my community, especially women, could not have been a reality. This is the success our region and Amref Health Africa have to celebrate,” said Rahma, who has been selected by Afar Regional Heath Bureau to work at Dubti Woreda as a Mobile Health Team member.

Rahma has gained the knowledge and skills especially on how to assist laboring mother that enabled her to effectively deal with managing pregnancy related complications like pregnancy induced hypertension; how to give a professional care to a new born baby, how to create awareness about avoiding harmful practices during labor, early detection and treatment of puerperal sepses, how to give first aid to those in need. “This is why I have been selected by Afar Regional Health Bureau to join the mobile health team and serve my community, thanks to Amref Health Africa.

Amref Health Africa has been working with the Afar Regional Health Bureau for the last 12 years in maternal, neonatal and child health; water and sanitation; and capacity building through the strengthening of health extension program and midwifery training. These supports of strengthening the human resources in Afar have greatly improved the number of skilled female birth attendants, who competently provide grassroots health services and supported the implementation of the health extension program.

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