22 enero, 2016 0


Each International Women’s Day, the global community pauses to reflect on women who inspire. Sometimes these women are famous, sometimes they are historical — but just as often they are seemingly regular women you’ve never read about in a newspaper or text book.

On a recent field visit with Save the Children in Uganda, I was inspired by Eva and Damalie, two midwives who face incredible challenges, yet still dedicate themselves to helping others. As I reflected on my time spent with these women, it occurred to me that no matter the country or circumstance, women who inspire share five common traits.

1. They have purpose. Even facing incredible challenges, inspiring women forge ahead with the confidence that they are making a difference.

On a sunny morning at the Nakaseke District Hospital in Uganda, I met a midwife named Eva. On the day that I arrived, the hospital had not had running water or electricity for two weeks. This is all too common in Uganda, where the infant mortality rate is 44 deaths per 1,000 live births. Even without those basic necessities, Eva arrived every morning full of hope that more women would come to the hospital to deliver their babies.

2. They believe in what they are doing. Women like Eva are not afraid to challenge the status quo, even at personal or professional risk.

That morning, as Eva and I stood by a bedside admiring a mom with her new baby Michael, she revealed that the baby had been in trouble during his birth the night before. Following a long and difficult labor, he emerged quietly, not breathing. The physician sadly shook his head, believing the baby was dead. Eva stressed that the baby was alive and began using the skills to revive a baby that she learned inHelping Babies Breathe (HBB) training provided by Save the Children, theAmerican Academy of Pediatrics USAID and Johnson & Johnson.

Earlier that morning, Eva proudly pulled the doctor into the maternity ward to see healthy baby Michael breastfeeding.

3. They have empathy. They feel an obligation to help others.

Damalie Mwogererwa is a Ugandan midwife who always wears a wide smile on her face. She reminisced about a decade of working in the delivery room without adequate equipment or knowledge to save the lives of mothers and babies. “We didn’t even know that we could do something else,” she said, “I felt like I was delivering babies to die.”