My name is Hannah David; I am the first of 23 children from my parents. I was born in a polygamous family in River Cess - one of Liberia's most remote Southeastern counties. My father had eleven wives. My mother was the first wife. At age 10, what I witnessed numbed me for the rest of my childhood days. I firmly remember the pain and agony my father's sixth wife, Poehpah, endured when she was about seven months pregnant. She had these very intense headaches and would complain about how severe they were to her sister-wife, Nyonblee. When Peophah noticed the headaches were not subsiding, she told Nyonblee that she wanted to visit the government clinic. But Nyonblee cautioned against it because of how far the clinic was from their village - the commute would take seven hours. Instead, Nyonblee suggested Peophah visit a midwife who lived in a nearby town.
Peophah heeded and visited the midwife. But the midwife refused to help Peophah because the midwife and the rest of the village claimed that Peophah was a witch who had cursed their crops and could not keep a fetus alive because of a few miscarriages. Peophah pleaded with the midwife but to no avail. Peophah's headaches got worse and subsequently became seizures, but the villagers continuously ignored Peophah out of spite that the attacks were a part of her "witchcraft acts." Peophah's episodes lasted for hours until she met her untimely death.
Peophah's death altered something within me and sent me on a journey to what would become a game changer in wifery. Before this, I had always dreamed of becoming a renowned Journalist. However, Peophah's death made me aware of how harmful and ignorant the community can be to women and their livelihoods. As such, I wanted not only to become a Registered Midwife to understand the symptoms that Peophah suffered during her pregnancy but to ensure that other pregnant women would not have to suffer the same fate out of ignorance. Consequently, I became the first girl in my village to achieve more than an elementary education. I earned my degree in midwifery and a bachelor's in Sociology, and I am now studying for my master's in Health Systems management.
I have worked as a midwife for over 20 years and have since delivered more babies than I care to count. With the Ministry of Health's assistance, I started a program at The Goodwill Clinic in Fiama that helped pregnant women with HIV deliver babies free of HIV. I have counseled men and women who tested positive for HIV, administering proper medications to help sustain their lives.
My newest project is to start a birthing center in Rivercess and help mothers safely bring their kids into this world. Peophah’s unfortunate case is not unique to her. Today, many mothers and new mothers are vulnerable to the ignorance around women’s reproductive health. This ignorance has plagued women for too long, and I wish only to see it end.
With your financial assistance, this center will:
Provide skilled care before and after childbirth
Implement best practices for managing the care of high-risk pregnancies
Vaccinate women of childbearing age, pregnant women, babies, and children
Provide education around birth control to sexually active women and men
Continue my project of Mother to child HIV/Aids prevention
Des Moines, IA