90% of the nursing and midwifery workforce are women, according to medical journal Lancet. To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked midwife volunteer Anaghim Ghnimi to share her story and her dreams for the future.
My name is Anaghim Ghnimi and I am a full-time medical representative and a part-time volunteer midwife from Tunisia. Growing up, I initially wanted to be a dentist, but once I got into school, my interests led me to obstetrics, gynecology and pediatrics. I fell in love with this area of work.
Sadly, our profession isn’t well recognized in Tunisia. Very few midwife students end up being employed in the public sector. Most of us are forced to work in the private sector under precarious work conditions, where they often are asked to perform tasks below their rank with salaries below the country’s minimum wage.
Those who are fortunate to work as actual midwives find that the attitudes towards the profession are often riddled in sexism. Midwives aren’t respected like doctors or nurses , and we find ourselves being treated poorly and our expertise regularly dismissed.
Often, midwives quit the jobs they love so much in order to get a decent salary to pay the bills. It’s heartbreaking.
My story is a good example of the difficulties of being a midwife in Tunisia. After finishing my studies, I couldn’t find a job at any of our public hospitals,so I chose to volunteer as a midwife to try to make some type of an impact. I was keen to change the ways that midwives are treated in my country and restore dignity to our profession. However, I also wanted to improve the way some healthcare workers treat patients, especially pregnant women or those experiencing labour.
Medical Aid Films’ content reflects what I think a midwife should be. In their films, midwives listen, care about, and understand what women are going through. The films give advice not only to the mother, but to the whole family. The films helped me communicate better with my patients, and every time I used some of the techniques, methods and advice provided, women thanked me for having a more positive birth experience
As Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow, I still have a dream.” My dream is that every hospital or healthcare facility will have a midwifery model of care. I hope that one day I can design my own midwifery programmes that can be replicated across communities and benefit millions of people. I’d like to capture the authentic voices of women, men, everyone, and I’d like to tell my story to advocate for women’s rights.
I also dream of a better healthcare system. Midwifery education should be covered in budgets, programs and regulations; and the standards of care in maternal health should improve.
Finally, I’d like to show my appreciation to the whole Medical Aid Films team. It’s such a relief to see that someone cares as much about women’s health as we do. Thanks for existing and sharing all of this good content with us. You made me a better person and a better midwife, I owe you so much.
It’s thanks to our supporters that we can continue sharing our health content with health workers like Anaghim, helping narrow the global health gap. Please, donate to support our work.