Midwives in the Mountains: Education and coaching for remote villages

Miriam looked nervously around the room. Fourteen other women sat around her, eager to hear what the speakers from Kyrgyzstan‘s capital city had to share. She and her fellow participants had traveled to this mountain village from their own surrounding towns, hoping to get more education so they could improve the lives of the women they worked with. Miriam was a midwife, and the other women around her were also midwives or nurses in their own villages. CDI was sponsoring the seminar, and three CDI women workers had flown down to southern Kyrgyzstan, and then driven four hours through the mountains to share with Miriam and the others about perinatal care. The session began, and for the next five days they covered topics such as maternal nutrition, exercise, birthing positions, treating anemia and preventing and treating other complications. The information was much needed and Miriam soaked up every word. Before the seminar began, a pretest showed that the participants’ knowledge of the subject averaged at 54%. Five days later, the posttest showed an improvement to 80%!

But that wasn’t the only goal of the seminar. The three (CDI) staff workers assigned each of the participants with the coach. They were then given materials and taught how to share what they had learned with others. Miriam was used to helping women in her village, but she had never considered teaching them everything she knew! Now she is being coached on how to teach 15 to 20 pregnant women about caring for themselves throughout the pregnancy and birthing process. Already the CDI workers have been getting messages and videos, describing how the teaching is progressing in each of the 15 villages! The CDI workers will return in January to give a second seminar on whatever topics Miriam and her fellow participants feel are most needed in their area. Coaching will continue until June 2024, When they will all gather one last time for a celebration and receive certification for completing the coaching program. They look forward to hearing the stories that will be shared and the impact each of these healthcare workers will have in their own communities.