Many women in rural Liberia do not have the same health care advantages that my niece has. Approximately 1,200 Liberian women and girls suffer with fistula, primarily because there is a lack of obstetric care in rural areas, resulting in extended hours or several days of difficult labor.
A number of them turn to traditional midwives for help with their deliveries. Traditional midwives lack medical training. Their methods are abhorrent and dangerous. One fistula survivor shared that some traditional midwives rub pepper on a woman’s privates to make a woman push harder or even have ants up bite her in that area to help with contractions. Another fistula survivor reported that her midwife bounced up and down on her belly, trying to force the baby to come out.
This is why it is vital to have more medically educated midwives to provide safe deliveries in rural Liberia. The Phebe School of Nursing includes certified midwifery among its training programs. The school is within a quarter-mile walking distance of the Liberia Fistula Project Rehabilitation and Reintegration site and its students have direct contact with the fistula survivors throughout their training.
The school is in desperate need of updated educational material and the ability to provide instructional DVDs to multiple classes simultaneously. Supporting the Phebe School of Nursing is one of Dignity:Liberia's priorities.