Becoming a Village Nurse Midwife

Nang Thein Oat grew up in Pin Laung Township in Southern Shan State. She went to school through 10th grade but struggled to pass her state exams. Her family could not afford to continue her education. She was very discouraged.

“As I haven’t passed high school, I thought that I do not have any opportunity to develop more and I just have to spend my time in farms throughout my life. This thought makes me really upset and spend my every day without any meaning.”

Nang Thein watched village women deliver infants at home by traditional birth attendants, which was very dangerous for both mother and child. Many villagers refused to visit the hospital due to their lack of confidence in speaking Burmese, financial constraints, and transportation difficulties. Nang Thein wanted to be a nurse-midwife but had no idea how to make it happen. Muditar has supported village-based auxiliary midwives since 2015. Her village committee selected Nang Thein to attend a six-month training in Taunggyi.

“Completing the program was difficult, but I worked hard to attain my dream of becoming a local healthcare professional in my native village. At the beginning, no one trusted me to receive care and treatment when I returned to the community after that training. One day, my aunty, who was pregnant, asked me to deliver her baby. That delivery not only went smoothly but also gave me the villagers’ trust. Since then until now, I helped in giving birth to fourteen infants, including from those from other villages.”

Since 2019, all deliveries are done with a government midwife at home and in a hospital to ensure safe delivery, receive a birth certificate for the newborn, and meet government requirements. With these specifications, Nang Thein supports the government midwife in immunizing young children, shares health information in her community, and helps in deliveries since she has become a health service provider. She provides prenatal and contraceptive education to her female villagers on a regular basis. Her village, Bayar Ngar Sue, as well as seven other nearby villages, rely on her for basic health treatment and referral.

“Villagers do not worry as before because we have health care provider in our village. For minor illness, especially for the elder persons, it is not needed to go to other place for basic treatment. We trust her. It is also very convenient for those who are very poor as they don’t need to give any consultation fees,” one villager said with confidence.

“I’m really glad and proud of myself to be a village nurse midwife who is able to provide the basic health care for the community. I’ve never thought that I’ll become such a person,” Nang Thein Oat expressed her feelings.