For almost seven years in the 1980s, I lived on Mali’s Dogon Plateau. I was a Peace Corps volunteer focused on primary health care and spent most of my time with women. I learned about their joys, sorrows, dreams, struggles and, surprisingly, their great fear of childbirth.
As a physician in Burkina Faso, I have worked for more than 30 years to help ensure that the people of my country have access to the health care they need. I have often looked at the big picture—working to strengthen my country’s national policies on malaria, child survival, prevention of HIV/AIDS and family planning (FP). But I haven’t always looked closer to home.
Lunch would have to wait.
Midwife Pauline Mukabasinga was just about ready to enjoy her midday meal on Monday, February 6, when a nurse she worked with at Kabarore Health Center called for her assistance. It was urgent.