Originally published by SHOPS Plus
SHOPS Plus provides training in service quality and financial and business management to private providers in Madagascar, equipping them with the skills needed to achieve greater impact in their communities. In celebration of International Midwives Day, SHOPS Plus shines the spotlight on one midwife who used these trainings to further her business goals and dreams for the future.
Oliva Harivololona, a married mother of three, has been practicing midwifery for a few years. In 2017, she decided to open her own birthing center called “ARO” after participating in SHOPS Plus training. Her center is located in a rural commune 10 kilometers from the capital. In addition to running the center, Oliva participates in Ministry of Health-led activities to promote her profession.
“Midwifery is a noble profession”
Oliva believes that midwifery is the noblest profession because midwives bring life into the world, and “that’s what inspires us the most every day.” Midwives also play a critical role in community life, serving as lifelong friends to their patients from reproductive health counseling during adolescence to family counseling for family planning, preparation for childbirth, and support to mothers and their children.
Moreover, they are considered to be parents of the community. Oliva considers fulfilling this role to be a learning process, noting “it obliges us to continuously train ourselves and do research to improve services and client reception.”
“Becoming a doctor of midwifery is my biggest dream”
Before she received SHOPS Plus training, Oliva dreamed of having her own birthing center. Now, she dreams of expanding her practice and hopes to further the midwifery profession in her country. She wants to obtain a doctorate in midwifery, a degree designed to establish midwives as leaders in their profession with the skills needed to move the field forward. And why stop there? “Why not become a midwife teacher!” Oliva says. “I dream of having a university for midwives.”
Honoring the midwives of Madagascar
In contemplating the role of midwives in Madagascar, Oliva encourages community members to consult them for family health advice, saying “midwives are your closest friends.” To her fellow midwives, she says, “we are ready to help the country and the whole world give life, thus reducing infant and maternal mortality rates.” SHOPS Plus commends Oliva’s commitment to her profession and celebrates midwives across Madagascar who are dedicated to supporting their communities through their work.