Healthy Mothers, Strong World: the next generation of ideas for maternal health.
This is an entry for becoming a Young Champion of Maternal Health
Birth is a universal language. It is something all of us can share. This is the strength in it. We must learn to use this to its full potential.
Using this idea, I have often thought that song, is a way to share this.
My idea: To use songs of motherhood to start forums of communication. Firstly, going into a local community to welcome women and men () to come and form a group. Using song as a way to unite. The songs should be focussed on birth, the experience of motherhood to bring the group to a goal. This is a way of allowing song to empower women and birth, to bring it to the forefront. The group can choose a song, and if they do not know one the leader can encourage or help them to learn one. This will beocme the united voice. The idea is to use it as a kind of metaphor which helps women to find their voice.
Then, in these groups, a time to share stories, bad outcomes/ experiences and good experiences of the childbirth continuum , so the group can hear and learn.
Then as these forums gain momentum and trust. The leader can introduce a simple Birth First Aid Kit. Providing ideas and tools using pictures, diagrams, mneumonics (similar to HELPERS for shoulder dystocia) and skill drills. This should take a practical theme, getting women doing role plays and using examples from stories to emphasise how if this was to happen again the family, communtiy could act, and imporove the outcome. (EG learn from their experiences of post partum heamorrhage, preterm labour etc).
These groups should also definatly include local healers/ birth attendants who will have a huge array of expertise to share too. They may also have a lot of clout so getting them on side is very important. As the group develops form important to name a leader (local person) who can continue to initiate these groups in the future(sustainability). The groups should continue to learn lessons from experiences of birth in the community- each time reviewing what happened, why it happened and how outcome can be improved next time. Ideas on how to do this should be collated and pooled back to central source- who can analyse and initiate training/tools as to specific locality.
Then, this person (leader) and yourself (facilitator) as part of the first aid Birth kit need to connect with local land owners/ transport owners/ mayor/ politicians and make a Local Protocol of Action. So, from the family to the village transport there is a clear action pathway- which depicts how the woman who is in need of emergency care could get to a hospital.
It is important that this is again run through, so a skill drill type exercise should be done regulalry, so each person knows what they need to do in the event of an emergency.
This will not be easy especially in very rural areas where there may be no transport. BUT, bringing awareness to the need for a 'commmunity action plan' and lobbying local politicians may help to raise the plight of the need to have a clear protocol of action, and referral pathway. It also gives people a sense of action, responsibility- which is clear and practised, and therefore more likely to happen.
This idea then goes further. I believe it could be taken anywhere, to neighbouring villages, but also other countries and into the West. Using the song theme, creating songs of birth, recording them (later playing them to other groups- so they know this is a universal song, a universal movement to bring awareness to womens birth journeys).Anyway, in other places, the same would apply- but of course making it relevant to local area.
In the future, i would hope to bring the leaders (and maybe small group of women) to come and meet other womens groups, so their stories and lessons and ideas could be shared.
Creating the universal language. Using their songs, stories and lessons, a global network of story telling could be created. All aimed to develop skills, awareness and local problem solving on how to reduce poor outcome to mothers and babies in childbirth.
I believe it is important to start at grass root, making it relevant to local areas. But, also utilising the strength of the universal applicability of birth. To inspire change by empowering women to find their voice.
The central source (facilitator) could pool examples from groups, ideas, songs and tools (utilising the groups ideas but also collating other NGO tool kits eg WHO) into one area. This would become a database to continue to develop expertise and support to groups in the future.