Village birth attendants play vital role by saving lives

Health Watch

VILLAGE birth attendants (VBA) play an essential role in saving the lives of mothers and babies, Kairu Opa, deputy director for public health in Eastern Highlands, says.
“Until we have health facilities within easy walking distance of every village and until we have midwives in all our health centres, we need VBAs as part of our health system,” Opa said.
He said this on Friday when 20 VBAs graduated at an advanced course in essential elements of new-born care in Goroka.
The two-week course facilitated by a local non-government organisation – Touching The Untouchables – was funded by United Nations International Childrens’ Emergency Fund (UNICEF), to train VBAs to do home visits in the critical first 10 days to one month after a baby is born.
According to one of the trainers Dr Richard Barcham, village birth attendants will check mothers and babies for signs of infection following birth and make sure mothers and babies who are sick or at risk attend a health centre early.
“For each training, the village birth attendants spent two weeks in Goroka,” he said.
“This time includes theory sessions as well as attending practical sessions in the Goroka District Hospital maternity ward, the family planning clinic and the ante-natal clinic.
“The newly-graduated village birth attendants will return to their villages in Henganofi district to continue their volunteer work of saving lives.”
One of the village birth attendants Darren Danny from Fayantina village in Henganofi was grateful for the training and could now confidently return to his community and help mothers and babies.
He said after the training, it would help him serve mothers in his villages with more knowledge and care.

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