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Changing Lives Through Midwives

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In addition to assisting in the birth of babies, midwives like Lilia Dado play a critical role in health care for the Filipino people.

Life is precious, says Lilia Dado, a 50-year-old midwife working in the Philippines. During the past 14 years, Lilia has helped deliver more than 900 babies, provided prenatal care for hundreds of young mothers, counseled countless teens about reproductive health, and organized dozens of programs to teach her community about immunizations and disease prevention. “As a midwife, I have the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life every day.”

Lilia is a graduate of the Midwives Leadership Development Program (MLDP), which is a training program led by the Integrated Midwives Association of the Philippines (IMAP), Inc. in cooperation with Johnson & Johnson (Philippines) Inc. In 2004, Johnson & Johnson created the MLDP to help midwives strengthen their leadership and health care skills. The program gives outstanding midwives like Lilia an opportunity to take part in an intensive training program that aims to enhance their knowledge and leadership skills and develop them to become more effective health professionals. Since 2004, the MLDP has trained more than 100 midwives across the country.

In 2008, Lilia was selected to represent Baguio City for the 5th MLDP. “It was very rewarding to get to know other midwives from all over the country and share our experiences,” says Lilia. “After the training, I continued to apply everything I learned—from how I conduct meetings to how I create instructional materials for the programs I lead in the community.”

In the Philippines, midwives are valued for the important role they play in the health of the Filipino people, especially in the country’s far-flung communities. The job often goes well beyond caring for expecting mothers and attending to the birth of babies. For example, Lilia has served the community by providing educational information about renal disease, tuberculosis and sexually transmitted infections.

Most recently, Lilia helped organize the Women’s Health Team, known as EBAN ME (Ever Ready Barangay in Actioning Newborn in Maternal Health Emergencies), which means the team is always ready to help when there is a newborn or maternal health care emergency. The team’s program teaches women about family planning, disease prevention and childhood immunizations. The objective is to decrease the incidence of disease, reduce infant mortality and reduce maternal mortality and morbidity. “We’ve established the program in one community, which is our pilot area for the project,” says Lilia. “The goal is to establish teams in eight communities in our area.”

In addition to improving the lives of patients, Lilia says she wants to be an inspiration to other health care professionals. “I tell midwives to continue to have a passion for learning. I encourage them to attend seminars and other training programs that will help them understand how important they are to health care. The Filipino people need us. And for as long as I live, I will keep studying and discovering new ways to share what I’ve learned with my community.”

Learn More:
2009 Contributions Report On-Line

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