Silsden midwife set for Uganda aid mission

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Midwife Emily Hill Midwife Emily Hill

A Silsden midwife is planning on leaving the comforts of the Aire Valley to spend three months in Uganda helping expectant mothers.

Emily Hill will be working at a community birth house in Atiak, 20 miles from the South Sudan border.

And, before she leaves in March, she wants to raise enough money to buy 30 bikes and has launched an appeal – Mobilise a Midwife.

Emily has always wanted to work abroad, but decided to wait until she had acquired the necessary skills and experience.

“One of the reasons I trained as a midwife was I knew it was a skill that could be used to help people all over the world,” she said.

“My initial idea was to go abroad as soon as I qualified, but it wasn't until I started working in Whitechapel, London (where Jennifer Worth, author of Call a Midwife worked) that I realised how much I needed to know to really help in a developing country.

“I spent nearly five years working in London where I completed specialist courses before returning to Silsden in September 2012, to work as a community midwife in the local area.

“For the past couple of years, I’ve been on the lookout for an organisation that I thought struck the balance between making a difference and respecting the local culture and beliefs.

“I found Mother Health International (a NGO) and followed their wonderful work for about two years, before applying for volunteer work in August.

“I got accepted and will be travelling at the beginning of March to work in a birth house for three months. “This is a self-funded trip (I’ve been saving for the last two years to go) and I will be taking extended leave from my work.”

Emily will work at the community birth house in Atiak, which is two hours away from the nearest hospital.

She will work with Uganda’s “traditional” midwives – usually local women with knowledge being passed on through female family members from generation to generation. Most have had little formal training.

“My role as a trained midwife is to work alongside traditional midwives to provide safe and holistic care,” said Emily.

“Traditional midwives provide care in the local villages (30-mile radius) and attend, with the mother, the birth house for the labour. There are about 45 births a month.

“My current fundraising project is to buy 30 bikes for the traditional midwives, allowing easier journeys between villages.

“Families will receive more frequent care. These bikes are a lifeline as midwives can attend a mother in labour faster as well.”

The bikes cost £40 each and Emily is also hoping buy other supplies such as baby hats, a fetoscope (way of listening to the heartbeat), blood pressure equipment, gloves and resuscitation equipment.

“Hopefully all of my 60kg luggage allowance will be supplies for the birth house,” said Emily.

For more information, visit twitter.com/mobilisemidwife or facebook.com/mobiliseamidwife

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