To mark yesterday’s International Day of the Midwife, Britain’s Nursing Times magazine released an interview with Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton and Harriet Nayiga, a nurse, midwife and founder of MILCOT (Midwife-led Community Transformation), a community organization providing advice and support for vulnerable women and girls in Uganda.
During the interview, Kate asked Harriet about why she became a midwife, the role of midwives in Uganda and the increased toll the coronavirus pandemic has had on healthcare workers around the world. The conversation highlighted exactly what International Day of the Midwife is all about: shining a light on the important work of midwives, and to “follow the data” recently released in the 2021 State of the World’s Midwifery (SoWMy) Report, which shows the impact of midwives on maternal and newborn health outcomes.
A long-time supporter of midwives, Kate’s emotional conversation with Harriet will only help to further the initiative’s efforts to support Ugandan women.
“Five years back I worked with an organization taking care of pregnant teenagers in crisis. I was caring for them day and night as a house mother and a midwife. I comforted them because many of them felt stigmatized. Through this, I realized the challenges these girls were going through – I was sharing them,” said Harriet.
“I would hug a young girl who is facing challenges – she’s crying, she was raped, she’s 10 years old. She’s seeing me as the mother, the sister, as everything – so I was caught up in the pain. I trained them in economic resilience, but that induced me to go back to school to learn how I can solve some of the challenges that they face.”
And because no part of the world escaped the COVID-19 crisis, Kate also learned about how the organization helps the mental well-being of mothers. MILCOT offers group therapy sessions and helps women set up small scale businesses to support themselves.
“Hopefully one day I can come and see your amazing work first-hand,” Kate said before saying goodbye. “It’s so fantastic that organizations like MILCOT are on a global stage, being able to share their best practice. You should feel hugely proud of all the hard work and effort that goes into it. I can see your passion and dedication.”