Anyess Aceng (prounced An-yes A-cheng) is a 26-year-old midwife who has recently returned to work at the Kristina Health Centre after giving birth to her first baby three months ago. She is from a town called Dokolo, but lives on site in the staff accommodation with her baby Shalon and her babysitter. Anyess’ husband comes from Alebtong and is a high school teacher.
Anyess began working at the center in July 2016, when the maternity service commenced.
8:00am: Anyess begins work at the Kristina Health Centre
Anyess’ day begins with the completing paperwork required for the USAID Voucher Program that all the maternity patients are on. Anyess tallies up the costs associated with the care for each patient.
9:30 – 10am: Patients start arriving at the clinic.
As the pregnant women begin to arrive at the health center, Anyess puts the paperwork aside and commences the antenatal clinic. On average it takes about 40 minutes to see each patient. A lot of women have multiple health or pregnancy issues such as malaria, being generally unwell or possibly having twins.
Many women are either young first time mothers at the age of 15, 16 or 17 years old or older and having their 6th, 10th or 12th child.
All patients are tested for HIV, syphilis and urinary tract infections. Their partners are also tested for HIV if they attend the clinic with their wife.
A lot of time is spent on discussing contraception options and the health risks associated with having many children. Contraception services are also provided at the Kristina Health Centre.
2:00pm: Lunch time.
A lunch of poshu and red or black beans is provided for the midwifes at the center.
The soon-to-be mothers prepare to give birth.
Often women arrive in the afternoon saying their labour pains commenced that morning. Anyess balances her time between the remaining women awaiting antenatal treatment and the new laboring women.
Once the antenatal clinic is finish, Anyess focuses all of her time on the laboring woman. She provides advice and ensures the patient drinks the hot sweetened black tea that is favoured by the women. She assesses the woman’s progress and encourages them to walk around.
The patients support person brings food to cook on the small compacted dirt stoves in the patient kitchen to prepare meals.
The patient gives birth!
Anyess prepares the labour room, ensuring the patient’s support person has blankets for the expected baby and brings the soon-to-be mother into the labour room.
Anyess encourages the woman and once the baby is born, the umbilical cord is cut and the baby is wrapped up in blankets keeping them warm and dry.
Tetracycline cream is placed on the baby’s eyes to prevent infection and they are given a Vitamin K injection. All women breastfeed their baby’s as formula is too expensive and not available in the village. Anyess ensure she baby feeds easily.
Once new born is ensured to be healthy and feeding, Anyess cleans and prepares the labour room for the next birth.
Anyess falls into bed after feeding her own baby one last time for the day. Sometimes she’ll have to wake up and conduct a birth over night, then start the process again the next morning.