In the medical field, hypertension is known commonly as high blood pressure. Women and fetuses die due to high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is true everywhere, but in places like Kamina in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, it happens far too often, simply because women lack the medical knowledge needed.
To better understand the role of communications to prevent high blood pressure, Harper Hill Global provided a grant to Rev. Dr. Betty Kazadi Musau to conduct a workshop in Kamina. Rev. Dr. Betty serves as the Health Board Chair and Director of Communications for the North Katanga United Methodist episcopal area which includes Tanganyika and Tanzania. She is a bridge between healthcare and local communities, understanding the effects on families when they have little access to healthcare information.
The healthcare information workshop took place in February 2021 among community health workers, primary school teachers, nurses, and public health female students.
During the workshop, the group discovered that a key role was that of nutrition in hypertension. Pregnant women often do not have a balanced diet, and the lack of prenatal care prevented them from identifying high blood pressure. When salt intake is not reduced, high blood pressure can result, endangering the expectant mother and child. In addition, a locally-produced beer is a staple drink.
The idea that peer knowledge in the village alone is sufficient often leads women down a dangerous path towards delivery. Women gather under trees to share social knowledge for childbirth, but often they find themselves victims of untold knowledge.
With support from a generous donor, we are beginning to strengthen the women’s network in information sharing for life. You can add to these efforts by giving today.
One participant, Annie, who is a schoolteacher, believes that peer education is very useful. In fact, it is essential when coupled with scientific facts that can save and enhance the lives of women and their unborn babies.
Other participants shared their insight. For example, Ilunga Mwayuma Hubertine, a student in public health, expressed the importance of knowing what normal blood pressure is.
Knowledge is key so that when there is a slight change, pregnant women will be able to alert their husbands or nurses when something is wrong. Yet we know that facts alone often go unheeded if they do not also touch the heart of the receiver.
During pregnancies, keeping a proper diet is key, as is the avoidance of drinking alcohol and smoking. Monga Kapemba Vanessa, a student in public health, urges nurses to start an open conversation with pregnant women on how to keep themselves and their children safe and healthy at home to prevent crisis and chaos.
In sum, female students, nurses, and teachers have shared reasons why pregnant women have high blood pressure. While female students presented the symptoms, teachers and nurses shared knowledge of root causes and shared from daily experiences why pregnant women have high blood pressure. If women who bear life can also bear lifesaving information, generations will find healing and wholeness.
Sharing unfolds knowledge.