One man’s endless passion for healthy women
Lilian Kaivilu @liliankaivilu
Joel Ambasa has been a midwife for the last 22 years. In a career traditionally associated with women, Ambasa says the aim to solve challenges facing women pushed him to what he terms as his passion.
“In 1988, I witnessed a woman die after giving birth. It troubled me and I repeatedly wondered why one would die while bringing forth life,” says Ambasa, a midwife at Kenyatta National Hospital.
He says the incident inspired him to join the profession. He joined the Kenya Medical Training College where he pursued a course in nursing and specialised in midwifery.
Just like his colleagues, Ambasa says there are bad days, especially when mothers lose lives in the process of giving birth.
“My lowest moment was when I was brought a patient who had been referred from a different facility.
She had bled a lot and when we asked for blood from the laboratory, the technician prepared it within a few minutes.
But by the time we got to the patient with the blood, she had already died,” he says.
Ambasa advises aspiring midwives to have a positive attitude and a mindset to change lives while consulting experienced midwives.
While more men are now joining the midwifery profession, Mutisya says there are still cultural barriers in some communities.
“Many women prefer male midwives. However, in areas with strong cultural beliefs, this is still a challenge,” says Boniface Mutisya, the representative of all midwives in the Nursing Council of Kenya.
The International Day of the Midwife, celebrated every May 5, seeks to celebrate the achievements of midwives and their contribution to improving sexual, reproductive, maternal and newborn health outcomes.
The day also recognises the crucial role of midwives in reducing maternal and neonatal morbidity and mortality.