In South Sudan the #1 cause of death in women of reproductive age is pregnancy. When I was in medical school, pregnancy was not a disease. We’re back in South Sudan, currently in the midst of a famine, shuttling back and forth between Congo at least until December, helping to reopen some of the health facilities that were closed during the war. The biggest challenge is not money or supplies but finding trained people. I met Mary and Martha (their real names), two traditional midwives who will be staffing one of our clinics and making a significant dent in that sobering statistic. These ladies, despite having no formal education or training, deliver more babies in two months than I would in a lifetime!
What was funny was their sheer delight and unstoppable laughter while doing ‘selfies’ on my smart phone and seeing their pictures. I don’t remember laughing so hard…in a long, long while.