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Bintou Sanogo,
birth attendant for 23 years

"My mother was a birth attendant. I learned to love this job through her dedication to her patients."

It's a busy day at the Médine community health centre in Ségou, a regular day for Bintou Sanogo who works there. She walks through the corridors, talking kindly with the women who are waiting for their consultation. Bintou has been a midwife for 23 years, perpetuating the values that her mother instilled in her.

How did you get to know the SIMESON training?

I have been working in the maternity unit in a community health centre in the Ségou district since 1997. I am in charge of deliveries and pre- and post-natal care. I was trained in reanimation techniques in 2020 by the perinatal health project team. During our training, I felt considered. I told myself that we, the birth attendants, were just as valuable as midwives even though we are less qualified. I appreciate the inclusive and participatory methodology of the training. We are monitored by the Tdh trainers and by the health reference centre in Segou.

What motivates you to do this job?

My mother was a birth attendant. I learned to love this job through her dedication to her patients. After she passed away, I took over from her to honour the promise I made to her to always serve and promote the values she embodied. I am respected and recognized for my work, which led me to be recruited by the Community Health Association (ASACP) and to take training in several areas. I smile when I think of the birth I attended of a woman who had triplets. She wanted me to choose the name of one of them. There are also four children among those I helped to be born who were named after me!

What difficulties did you encounter during deliveries in the past?

In our community health centre, we give birth on average five times a day, sometimes ten. We generally have difficulties with women who are experiencing their first pregnancy. Before, to reanimate the children, we used different techniques: injections, rubbing with alcohol, tapping and very often we had to send the children to the referral health centre or to the regional hospital. Thanks to the training and the reanimation equipment, we no longer need to transfer newborns, as we are equipped to take care of them.

How has this project influenced your work?

The project has improved our relationship with the women and has increased attendance at the centre, because they see the quality of our care. Once I had a double birth because both mothers asked me to be present. After attending the first woman's birth, I ran to the second. She was in trouble and the baby was completely exhausted. I was afraid I was too late but I managed to reanimate him and he survived, which would not have been the case if the birth had taken place at home. This made me very happy.

What are your wishes for women and children?

I would like women to be able to benefit from support at all stages of their pregnancy, for pregnancies to be monitored by qualified personnel, for deliveries to be attended by trained staff, and for parents to be involved during pregnancy and attend post-natal consultations. I also want the children to be vaccinated and to be able to live and develop properly.

Read the article on the SIMSONE training