During her time as a midwifery student at the University of Dodoma, Hilda Mavanza, BScMw, was taught by GHSP Educator Elisa Vandervort. Now Hilda is a teacher in her own right and through her work tutoring at a local nursing school, she is working to strengthen the Tanzania midwifery workforce and expand access to high quality health care.
In honor of International Youth Day on August 12th, Seed spoke with Hilda who, at only 26 years old, is already shaping the future of her country through her role as a midwifery educator. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length.
Why did you decide to enter the health workforce?
I chose a career in healthcare primarily because my late mother, Regina, was a nurse. In our communities where we have fewer healthcare providers than needed, being a healthcare provider is a noble course one can take to save the lives of fellow citizens and be there when one needs such help.
Also, as I was growing up I learned that life is more than getting good jobs and building massive houses; life’s significance comes from touching other people’s lives.
Could you share an example of a time when you worked with youth and what the outcome was?
I think the most remarkable related experience that I can share is about teaching my current students. I work as a nurse tutor and most of my students are between the ages of 17 and 20 years old. These young students are so eager to learn and are indeed transformed through education that they receive. Most importantly, however, is that they provide immeasurable value to society after training. By the time they graduate they are confident, competent, and equipped to save lives in their communities.
What are some challenges that young adults face when entering this field?
There are a number of challenges that young adults face in becoming midwives. For example, there are not many training institutions and students have to travel long distances for training. In addition, there is a preconceived notion that midwifery is a feminine job, making it harder socially for men to become midwives. Despite this challenge, there are many men who are making significant contributions to the field and the gendered barriers to entry should end.
How can we empower youth to advocate for safe and effective healthcare in their communities?
I think the biggest empowerment one can get is through education. Enriching transformation of the minds comes from gained knowledge. Only with heightened understanding and intellect can we expect our health care delivery to be more effective. Sharing knowledge in every youth friendly manner available will help empower young adults. Also, we must empower youth by involving them in matters concerning their health since this will show them that we have faith in their decisions and encourage them to participate in the future of healthcare.
What do youth/young professionals bring to the healthcare community that more experienced professionals may not otherwise see?
Youth bring a lot of new ideas and innovations that experienced people may not bring. This enhances, facilitates, and speeds up the delivery of health services. The energy and fresh minds of youth complement the experienced hands of the older providers.
Youth are committed, professional, and global-minded. They help revolutionize and link our practices to the worldwide family of healthcare providers. They have a sharp vision and willingness to go far to advance healthcare delivery around the world. .