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The Dialogue Begins - Community Meeting with village health team and birth attendents

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On the afternoon of March 23. Traditional Birth Attendants and Village Health Team Members joined us in the round building outside of the centre to discuss the problems and needs of birthing women in the community. The list was long everything from poverty, lack of women's rights, to lack of resources and knowledge. I have never seen a group of people more dedicated to learning more and ready to tackle the huge challenges they are faced with. It was so exciting to watch as local solutions were discussed to every problem, obtainable inexpensive solutions. 

As we went through each problem to try and come up with a solution the one that stuck out most was poverty. Poverty is never just a problem on its own but a situation that stems from an endless list of unpleasant circumstances. Sometimes it may just be not knowing the resources that are available. Our solution to poverty, education! Making sure that knowledge of traditional and natural birth practices are restored, teaching the women and men in the village about the endless nutritious plants and herbs that they have available to them right in their backyard, knowing what to do and where to go for help during emergencies. 

During the second part of the meeting we made a list of what the TBA's and Health Workers want to learn from us and what Shanti Uganda midwives want to learn from the TBA's. The list was very long and many myths were dispelled. We shared everything from remedies, traditional uses for the placenta, to how to mix bleach safely.

The meeting was so successful that everyone agreed that the next meeting must be an all day event.

When I came home after the meeting I read an article about how TBA's must be outlawed due to their dangerous practices. The article went on to discuss its very high costs solutions to maternal mortality in Uganda. You can imagine how I felt after coming from such a great meeting. Pushing TBA's underground only promotes the use of dangerous practices and discourages the sharing of imperative knowledge. Indeed if change is to happen it will only happen at this grassroots level where the sharing of knowledge between all birth professionals, birthing women and community memebers is key! 

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