TRADITIONAL BIRTHING ASSISTANTS or TBAs are “at the coalface” in rural villages. They are in a position to give direct care to their sisters and identify potential threats to a normal delivery and vitally refer them to the nearest clinic for advice and treatment. In The Gambia there has been no formal training of TBAs for over 11 years due to lack of funding .
Now a team from the RD&E Exeter NHS Foundation Trust led by a research midwife-scientist and a senior community midwife (both of them CAT members) are embarking on a research project to train TBAs. It will begin in November 2015.
In struggling parts of the world, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, there lurks a killer of women and girls that no vaccine can prevent. It is the agonising, sudden death in pregnancy or childbirth that, worldwide, takes the lives, often needlessly, of more than half a million women a year.
Gambian women have a life-time risk of 1 in 39 dying in childbirth.
Approximately 99% of maternal deaths occur in the world’s poorest countries and most of these occur in rural areas, miles from any professional ante or post natal care. A TBA is an older post-menopausal village woman
n who has the job of helping younger mothers in pregnancy & childbirth on account of her own personal experience !
CAT TEAM MEMBERS DATA GATHERING & EMPATHISING WITH LOCAL VILLAGE WOMEN – ESSENTIAL
Dr Isatou Touray
“A Law against FGM is a human rights issue and is necessary and relevant to for the protection of women and children.”
Dr. Isatou Touray is the Executive Director of the Gambia Committee on Traditional Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Children (GAMCOTRAP), a national and international leader in the fight against female genital mutilation (FGM). Formed in 1984, GAMCOTRAP is a Gambian women’s rights organization that concentrates much of its effort to safeguard the well-being of girls by ending harmful traditional practices like FGM and child marriage. Since its inception GAMCOTRAP has faced resistance from not only FGM practicing communities in The Gambia but sometimes from the State as well.
On 11th October, 2010 Dr. Touray, and her colleague Amie Bojang-Sissoho were arrested and imprisoned by The Gambian police under claims of allegedly embezzling funds in the sum of 30,000 Euros. They were initially denied bail even though theft is a bailable offense in The Gambia. Following an international outcry, including a letter sent to the President of Gambia by Equality they were released on bail on October 20, 2010. Following an arduous trial lasting more than two years, on 12 November 2012 they were acquitted of all charges, representing a vindication of the two activists.
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