In Atirir, Amudat district, NAWOU Community Based Action Team (COMBAT) members Loesekol John, Lopeile Pembe David among others spearheaded an operation in delivering expectant mothers to health centers using their motorcycles.
This arrangement was introduced after the community identified Loesekol and Lopeile as model community members. These men respect the rights of their own wives, attend the antenatal clinic with them and being present during the birth of all their children. This can be attributed to them receiving earlier training on the protection of the rights of women and girls.
“It’s me who takes my wives to the hospital whenever they are in labor. Last year my second wife was in labor and I was the one who took her to the hospital,” said Lopeile Pembe David proudly.
Loesekol John has safely taken five (5) expectant mothers; three (3) who were in labor and gave birth, and two (2) who had malaria, to receive treatment. Lopeile Pembe on his part, transported three (3) women; two (2) gave birth and one (1) had a life-threatening miscarriage thankfully the mother and the unborn baby were both saved. The two revel in doing their work which extends through the day and sometimes late into the night.
“We sometimes pick up expectant women in the wee hours of the night, we never tire. We withstand riding in the rain and through muddy roads given the season we are in. We never complain because we know we are contributing to safe motherhood and survival of babies”. said Loesekol.
They also sensitize the women on going to the hospital as early as possible and make sure to transport the attendant to the health centre in case the labor pains intensify.
“Whatever I get out of these services in terms of money, I use for servicing my motorcycle and obtaining fuel because it has to be in good condition all the time to respond any emergency. I use the surplus for meeting the needs of my family”.
They however face challenges including lack of helmets to cater for them, their clients and the attendants in case of any accident. They also need raincoats and gumboots most especially during the rainy season.
The bravery and selfless dedication of these COMBATs to ensure expectant mothers receive the necessary health services and have safe births is highly commendable. They have offered an alternative means to ambulances, and in return saved lives of mothers and babies.