Ms Habiba Sitta is a traditional midwife in Buyangu village in Bugarama ward, Kahama district in Shinyanga who doesn’t know how to read and write but have managed to keep records of newborn, premature, deaths of the newborn and deaths of mothers during delivery.
She keeps the records after being written down by her assistant who lives at the nearby street. They communicate when someone has gone to call Ms Sitta to help a mother for delivering.
Ms Sitta alias ‘Bi Habiba’ in the village was born in the era of the country using Cents with a hall at the centre. She works as a traditional midwife for more than ten years and has managed to help 260 live births.
The traditional birth attendant, Ms Habiba Sitta on the right and the journalist of this article.
She has started keeping the records from 2005 after getting the assistant and became famous in the area. Since 2005 to October this year, she has attended 282 pregnancy women. Whereby she has succeeded to give life to 270 children, 9 deaths, 10 premature babies and three mothers have died in her hands.
“Of course many children who died in my hands are the ones who come out before nine months, which are in between seven months to eight whereby they fail to survive in a blanket,” she said.
Ms Sitta has a local technology of making sure that the premature children are living in a safe place through boiling cooking oil and live painting oil right after birth and fully covered with the blankets for the remain three months if the child came out in seven months.
Ms Sitta complained onto given allowance and even being recognized by the government due to the help she gives pregnant women.
“I almost attend pregnant women of all this village, include Nyamagula where is five mile form here, Nyashigwe, Izunya and Buyange, I even go at night on foot because there is no transport around, we don’t get motorcycles and bicycles at night here” she said.
Ms Janeth Filbert of Bugarama said that, she felt comfortable when giving birth to the traditional midwife than to the hospital.
The Bugarama dispensary ward
“The nurses steal our children we can’t help that for sure, because of that I prefer traditional attendants,” said Ms Halima said who has delivered four children from traditional midwives.
The Ward Medical In-Charge of Bugarama, Dr John Malongo confirmed on the work of ‘Bi Habiba’ in the village and said she helps them to keep records of the live newborn, their deaths and deaths of mothers when delivering.
“Other traditional midwives do not keep records, Bi Habiba (Ms Sitta) use to come here to give the records every month and we give her the gloves for protection,” he said.
The Bugarama dispensary vision of 2012 in making sure pregnant women deliver at the dispensary which is still a challenge
The Spokesperson of the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Mr Nsachris Mwamwaja said that they no longer encourage people to go for traditional birth attendants and through that the ministry has no any budget to train or even help them.
“We were helping them with trainings before but recently we no longer do that, we encourage the pregnant women to give birth at the hospitals and not to traditional midwives,” he insisted.
However, Bugarama dispensary is in the practice to make sure that pregnant women are delivering at the dispensary and not to traditional midvives.
Dr Malongo said that they have target to reach the number of 650 by 2012 form 585 in 2011.
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