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Our Midwives Touched by Violence

Sep 11th, 2010 Updates

I had contacted Flory to ask about the safety of the midwives and the women in Nayngezi and Uvira, and to begin discussion about having him speak at a conference on public health in armed conflict happening at my school.  I received a reply from him this afternoon.  Here is his letter:

Greetings in Jesus Name,

Thank you for continuing to be ambassador of women and children of our country. It is a nice topic to discuss and would really like to be there. Rape and violence have been used as weapons of war and Conflicts in DR Congo since 1996. Women and children are the targeted victims of the conflicts.

Our churches are also affected and we don’t know what to do. For example, last month we had an annual general meeting of all our churches in Uvira, 10 members of our churches coming from Mwenga ( a place that you know very well because that where were coming the forest women who attended your training in Nyangezi) were stopped on their way, bitten and left half naked because the rebels took all their clothings. Women were sexually abused and men had to be taken as hostages to carry what they took.

In Walungu, another massacre took place in July next to where Banro is extracting minerals. No one came to help the population. The rebels did not attack Banro installations… The government troops are not helping the population, the United nations troops are overwhelmed and we don’t know where to send the population plea for protection. The national health bureau is releasing sad statistics of health situation which is going down again such as in 1994.

I thank you for continuing to be the ambassador of DR Congo and women. It will be a breakthrough if I attend the meeting because I will explain clearly to people what is happening and can have an occasion to uplift your health project for DR Congo and central Africa and get people to join your cause.

Till we talk again I will continue to pray for that programme.

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Jennifer Vanderlaan CNM MPH is the author of the BirthingNaturally.net website. She has been working with expectant families since 2000, training doulas, childbirth educators, and midwives. She has worked with midwives in Central America and Sub-Saharan Africa. Her interest in public health grew in 2010, and she is now a PhD student learning to become a producer of knowledge.

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