HERstory: Meet Jemima, a Nurse and Midwife

Jemima and her colleagues ready to take on a busy day of seeing patients (Photo: Gregg Telussa/Amref Health Africa).

Who is Jemima?

My name is Jemimah and I’m a midwife and nurse from Makueni County, Kenya. I am happily married and the mother of two daughters, aged seven and three. Since 2011, I have worked with great passion and dedication as a midwife at the Emali Model Hospital.

I vividly remember the first delivery I supervised. When the child was born, it was magical – a life-changing moment. I would like to give you a glimpse into my life as a midwife.

New Challenges with COVID-19

Every day I am in the hospital around 8:30 AM. Sometimes I arrive and I am immediately called up for a delivery but if there are no urgent matters, I start the day taking care of the pregnant women. I check their blood pressure and on their baby’s growth. Because of the COVID-19 crisis, many women don’t have enough money to buy food. Because of this I see that the growth of the baby does not always go as it should. Fortunately, we have vitamins and porridge here so that both mother and baby are not at risk of malnutrition.

As a mother, I know how important it is to have someone you can rely on, someone who can share your fears and insecurities, and who can be with you at all stages of pregnancy. I hope that I am that person for women in my community. Because of this, it is such a big privilege to be a midwife for my community.

Around 11 in the morning, I help women coming to the facility understand their sexual and reproductive health and rights. Before COVID-19, I used to do this in front of a large group but now I do this in one-on-one meetings with PPE. You can imagine this takes a lot of time, but it is worth it. I give out my number so they can call me if they have any questions –  I am not only their midwife, but also a real source of support.

Jemima assisting a new mother (Photo: Gregg Telussa/Amref Health Africa).

Amref Trains Midwives to Improve the Care They Provide

Amref has given us additional training, so we can make sure that women receive good quality care. I always tell my colleagues, “Treat patients like you would like to be treated yourself if you were a patient. Listen carefully with understanding and be the one they trust. It always comes back to you.”

Once a week it is “Mothers’ Day.” On Mothers’ Day, all young mothers in the community come together and I give vaccinations and weigh the babies to track their growth.

At the end of the day I record how many babies were born and the women who visited the hospital. In Makueni County we now have a curfew because of COVID-19. I see fewer women because they are often afraid of not getting home in time. This concerns me because there are now more women who choose to give birth at home. One woman even died this week because of serious complications. Losing a mother is heartbreaking, especially knowing you might have been able to help her if she was at the hospital.

I dream of a Kenya where women can make their own decisions when it comes to having children, a world where they decide if, when, and how many children they want to have and where they can give birth safely. I’m really thankful and happy that we can give the women of my community the help they need.

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