Nomso, International Humanitarian
Nomso Ibe’s smile is kind. Her passion is persistent. Growing up in Nigeria as the daughter of a pastor, she spent most of her childhood living in fear of pregnancy. Unlike in America where pregnancy is celebrated, pregnancy too often results in death for the mother and her child. The country’s maternal mortality rate is one of the highest in the world.
Nomso experienced the vast inequalities in healthcare firsthand as she studied to become a midwife. She once attended a home birth where she witnessed the mother-in-law of a young woman break a glass bottle and use it’s jagged edge to cut the umbilical cord.
Leading the Way
Instead of graduating with her class, she used her tuition money to pay for the care of pregnant women, giving them a chance at life. Delaying graduation by a year to save lives wasn’t a hard decision.
With resolve and armed with knowledge, Nomso met with a prominent female Nigerian leader. Nomso confronted her with facts and suggestions related to the issue at hand. She was told to go home, get married and have children. Nomso felt defeated, but she didn’t quit.
An Organization Forging Better Outcomes
In 2007, Nomso founded the Traffina Foundation, a non- governmental organization promoting maternal and child health programs in Nigeria. Traffina’s small staff and 80 volunteers provide door-to-door prenatal services, distribution of delivery kits, promote breastfeeding education and family planning, and also provide health education and training while respecting cultural beliefs.
One Delivery Kit Given, Two Lives Saved
In Nigeria, a woman in labor must bring her own medical supplies to the hospital. The Traffina Foundation gives women delivery kits with essential items like gauze, clamps, scissors, a drug to prevent hemorrhage, gloves, an apron for the attendant, soap, a blanket, hat and diapers. Without supplies, she will be turned away. Nomso recalls an image she can’t forget of a woman lying in the street outside a hospital with her baby lying between her legs. Each kit saves two lives: the mom and the child. Traffina has distributed 800,000 kits. They hope to reach one million soon and to purchase portable ultrasound machines to visit women in rural villages.
Nomso is a midwife and fellow of the Maternal Health Program with the Maternal Health Task Force at Harvard. She has traveled the world, sharing knowledge. The Traffina Foundation is looked to as an example, its influence reaching far beyond Nigeria. Nomso has submitted for 501(c)3 status in America and works daily to raise awareness and funds to save women and babies in Nigeria. Nomso is a mother of two, living with her mother Jane in Edmond, OK.
You can learn more at www.traffinafoundationfch.org or find them on Facebook.