|Hoàng Thị Nam (left) talking with Mông ethnic women about women and child healthcare. — Photo suckhoedoisong.vn|
YÊN BÁI — Midwife Hoàng Thị Nam for 24 years has not only taken care of people’s health but also acted as a bridge between benefactors and poor ethnic people in a remote village of the northern mountainous province of Yên Bái.
Located at an altitude of more than 1,000m above sea level, Bản Mù Commune of Trạm Tấu District is covered with the small houses of over 7,000 Mông ethnic people scattered on the mountainside.
Trạm Tấu is one of the two poorest districts of Yên Bái Province.
In previous years, ethnic minorities in general and the Mông people in particular followed an old custom that women never went to health facilities to give birth.
Having worked for 24 years in the village, the Thai ethnic midwife cannot forget the first days of her career.
“Those were the rainy and stormy nights, the maternity families went to the clinic to ask the doctor to come to the house to deliver babies because the mothers faced difficulty giving birth,” Nam told suckhoedoisong.vn.
“We had to wade through the forest to get to the maternity home in time,” Nam said.
“When pregnant women successfully gave birth, I cried of happiness to save their lives, but the greater joy was to create trust with the people so the next time the new mothers went to the clinic to give birth,” the midwife said.
When she was five years old, she had a high fever, and when she recovered, her left leg had atrophied which gave her a limp.
After completing high school, with high determination, she passed the exam for Yên Bái Medical College. And she volunteered to work in Trạm Tấu District after graduation.
After many years working at the clinic in Bản Mù, she understands and sympathises with the difficulties of Mông people.
And she always told herself that she had to do something to help them.
She patiently learned the Mông language, organised communication sessions in the village community to gradually raise awareness about health care.
In this way, Nam patiently and gradually built the confidence of ethnic people in doctors.
People now no longer believe in "soul shamans" to treat diseases.
As people put their trust in doctors, in just a few years, Nam and her colleagues built a network of preventive medicine and health care for local people.
For many years, the mountainous commune has had no disease outbreaks.
Giàng Thị E, a mother of a four-year-old, said, “doctors at the clinic often come to the village, telling us how to take care of our children.”
“Therefore, now if my family members get sick, we do not go to the shaman to pray anymore but go to the clinic to get examinations and medicines, Giàng Thị E said.
Nam is not only devoted to her career of children and women's health, but the 43-year-old midwife is also loved by many people for her charity activities.
|Hoàng Thị Nam transporting donations to poor people in Mù Village. Photo suckhoedoisong.vn|
“In Trạm Tấu District, most Mông people are very poor. Children are always barefoot and wear ragged clothes in the cold winter. Some older children go to school with empty stomachs. Looking at the scene, I try to hold my tears,” she said.
Feeling so sorry for the children, the midwife decided to do something to help them.
After many nights of thinking, she suddenly came up with the idea of taking advantage of information technology to call for the support of benefactors to help the children.
Nam still remembers the first family she helped.
“It was the family of Giảng A Thào in Mù Thấp Hamlet. The wife gave birth twice. Unfortunately, the first child died early. The second child had cerebral palsy. He was crawling all day on the cold ground,” Nam recalled.
"At the first meeting, I just wanted to cry at the miserable fate of the two young parents. Then I asked the Fatherland Front to donate VNĐ30 million (US$1,700) to buy furniture and feed the baby,” she said.
Then, Nam continued to ask others to give the milk and baby food and medicines.
Nam's deeds spread and created confidence for many volunteers not only in the district but also from many other localities to come to Bản Mù Village.
"Having been to many remote villages, I know many families with very difficult circumstances. So when I heard about the arrival of charity groups from Hà Nội or other provinces, I acted as a bridge between the charity groups and the poor people. It's not much but I'm very happy," Nam said.
“The happiness of one person is to bring happiness to many people. I am happy to be able to do something for my patients,” the midwife said. — VNS