When Abdoulie Gassama told his friends and family about his decision to become a midwife they thought he was mad.
“They didn’t believe me, especially my friends. They thought midwifery is only for women,” said Gassama who was born in Kerr Omar Saine, a small village in the North Bank Region.
At the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital (EFSTH), where he works as a nurse-midwife, there are not many male midwives in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology department.
He told What’s On-Gambia: “My nursing career started 11years ago when I finished from Nusrat Senior Secondary School as a Pure Commerce student. I went into Nursing by starting with the SEN training in Bansang. I later took the private WASSCE for my science subjects to be able to finally do my Registered Nurse (RN) programme.”
Gassama continued: “I was admitted into The Gambia College School of Nursing in my 3rd attempt in 2011 for the RN programme. Then in 2016 into the Midwifery program of the American International University West Africa (AIUWA) with a scholarship from the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.”
The young nurse-midwife, who also works in the private healthcare sector, further disclosed: “My passion for higher education in midwifery was ignited by the fact that I grew up in a community where higher education was limited and early marriage was an issue and also the fact that our maternal mortality rate was very high. So I believed with midwifery I could have more impact in my little community and The Gambia and to contribute more in reducing the maternal mortality rate of the country.”
Gassama recently graduated from the AIUWA, where he bagged the best grades in midwifery.
“Combining work and school was difficult. I could remember my salary was once stopped for 3 months because I couldn’t come to work for a week or two during my final exams. I made the necessary communications but there was a breakdown of communication somewhere along the line.”
According to him: “Midwifery is a noble and rewarding profession. I love helping my patients and equipping them with the knowledge that will help them and their children. I wish to travel abroad for my Master’s so that I can enhance my knowledge to further strengthen my fight to help women and to inspire young people."