Ayachyol, 23, is one of the midwifery students at the Gambella Teachers Education and Health Science College. After graduating from high school, she was looking for a training opportunity that could help her become a health worker in her region. Aware that a midwifery program would be opened in Gambella town by the Gambella Regional Health Bureau through the support of Amref Health Africa, she applied for entry and succeeded in joining the program. “I am lucky to have become one of the first students of the midwifery training program in this college. Amref Health Africa supports the program and provides us with all that is needed,” she said with a smile on her face.
Ayachyol knows well Gambella is one of the regions in Ethiopia facing high maternal and child health needs, including a need for more skilled birth attendants. Ethiopia, overall, has a shortage of health workers, underlining the need to expand training, particularly in the developing regions.
With ten months down and two more years to go, Ayachyol has already acquired basic skills she will be able to apply when assigned among the rural communities. “I can’t wait to finish my training and go out there in my community and help. One can go out and see how mothers are suffering from pregnancy related challenges in our region. It really touches anyone,” said Ayachyol. The communities in Gambella live in places where there are limited roads and transportation, inadequate health facilities, and few skilled health workers to address the health needs of mothers and children, who are the most vulnerable. Gambella region has 52 midwives for half a million people; there is one midwife per 10,000 people, a huge shortfall compared to other regions in the country (FMOH Health and Health Related Indicators, 2017).
Ayachyol is among a new generation of future midwives who will strengthen the health workforce in Gambella region. “My aspiration is to become a well-trained and skilled midwife who can, under any circumstance, strive to save lives. No matter how far the village I might be assigned to work is, I want to be part of the solution of addressing mothers and children’s health challenges in my region. I have come from the community, and I will go back to the community,” said Ayachyol.
Amref Health Africa teams up with African communities to create lasting health change.