I was contacted a couple of weeks ago by a man who is looking for a midwife for his African wife. The interesting aspect of this inquiry is that he lives just outside Dar es Salaam, which is the capital city of Tanzania. He is a kiwi who has lived in Tanzania for a few years. He would like a western-trained midwife to attend his wife for a home birth - they have had terrible experiences in the health system there, so are extremely wary of having a baby in a hospital there. He does not want to go to one of the European hospitals in South Africa because he does not know anyone there. So the options for them are: to import a midwife or come back to NZ for the birth. The problem with coming back to NZ is the woman will be away from her family and culture.
He has contacted a number of midwives, but has narrowed them down to me. We have talked on the phone and I am reassured that this is a genuine proposition. There are a number of issues to consider but I just cannot make up my mind what to do. He has offered to fly me there next month to meet them and check them out. Here is a list of pros and cons: I would really appreciate your feedback that will hopefully help me make up my mind.
1. Expenses will be covered - ticket will be sent to me before hand so I am not stranded in Africa.
2. Amazing opportunity to get a taste of Africa; to challenge myself, both on a personal and professional front.
3. Give me an opportunity to meet third world health professionals (in my usual manner of not wanting to let any opportunity go past, I would make sure I hooked up with local midwives and maybe offer to do some teaching/research).
4. This experience would no doubt lead to some sort of research output even if its a published reflection of what happened.
5. They have access to the Internet so I could keep in touch and continue to monitor my PhD research.
1. In a professional situation where I would have minimal back-up. They do have access to an obstetrician and if the worst came to the worst, would have access to a hospital for emergency treatment. Equipment would not be an issue because they would be able to access it there. Even if I had a really bad day, my care would be 100% better than what would be provided there. Bottom line: I would be the bottom line - do I have the confidence and ability to take on that degree of responsibility without a trusted midwifery colleague there to back me up, which is how I would normally practice here in NZ. It is not as if I would get sued if anything did go wrong, but I obviously have my own professional standards to maintain.
2. This would take me away from my PhD for a month. She is due in the middle of March which is when I am supposed to be starting to interview participants about their experience of the e-mentoring. It would not be a matter of life and death if I delayed things by a month but would add a little pressure to my time line.
I'm sure there are more cons but my mind has gone blank at the moment. As I said, all feedback would be very gratefully received so if you would like to add a comment please do so in the box below.