Antoinette Razafindravelo, 57, mother of four, grandmother of four, in Soamonina village, Madagascar.
Antoinette is a traditional birthing attendant and has been delivering babies in the rural village of Soamonina, situated in the highlands of central Madagascar, for 33 years. In between supporting women and children in her community, consisting of 1750 inhabitants and situated 10km away from the nearest health centre, Antoinette looks after her own four children and grandchildren and works as a farmer.
Antoinette has delivered so many babies she has lost count but believes it is well over a hundred. In addition to delivering babies, Antoinette raises awareness of health programmes including vaccination campaigns against Maternal and Newborn Tetanus, supported by the Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack + 1 vaccine” campaign. These vaccination programmes are critical to keeping women and children healthy, despite the challenges they face living in such a rural area far away from health facilities.
Antoniette is passionate about saving the lives of women and children and raises awareness of vaccination campaigns. She walks door-to-door to advise and remind women that they must be vaccinated to protect themselves and their unborn babies from deadly diseases including Maternal and Newborn Tetanus. She is so committed to her community that she even walks with pregnant women to the health centre three hours away to support them through midwife and vaccination appointments.
Although Antoinette has never received professional medical training, as part of the programme, and from her experience, she has gained knowledge on the safest way to deliver children. Before mothers-to-be give birth, Antoinette makes sure they have alcohol in their house to be used as a disinfectant should they be forced to give birth if the child comes during the night or extreme rain. She washes her hands throughout the birth with soap and cuts the umbilical cord with scissors that have been sterilised with alcohol.
The Pampers and UNICEF “1 pack + 1 vaccine” campaign has funded vaccination programmes in Madagascar helping to eliminate the disease across the country. Despite helping to eliminate Maternal and Newborn Tetanus in a total of 15 countries, including Madagascar, there are still an estimated 100 million women and their newborns in 24 countries who are still at risk from the fatal disease.