Nchaacha is a traditional birth attendant and has been delivering babies in the rural villages around Pelewa, Kajiado, Kenya, for over 30 years. She learnt the skill from her mother-in-law and loves her work; this is all she ever wanted to do. She delivers four to five babies every month.
In rural villages, women often have to walk for miles to reach the nearest health facility, meaning they are more likely to give birth at home in unsanitary conditions with only a traditional birth attendant present.
Five years ago, Nchaacha went for training, meaning she now understands the importance of helping mothers to give birth in clean and hygienic conditions so they are less at risk from deadly diseases such as maternal and newborn tetanus. She proudly shows a box of latex gloves that she uses and for each delivery she uses a new razor blade to cut the umbilical cord and special thread from the health facility to tie it. When complications occur she requests the Nursing Officer in charge of the Piliwa health facility comes or she sends the mother to the health facility.
Nchaacha now also works with the local health facility – built six years ago – to educate women and mothers-to-be in the community about the importance of being vaccinated. She recalls that before the health facility was built, she used to hear about many deaths due to maternal and newborn tetanus but that this is not the case anymore. Thanks to health programmes including the Pampers Unicef 1 pack = 1