Photo of Brianna Cavan and Joseph Angok Deng AtemOccupation: Midwife, Midwives of Grey Bruce
Years of Service: 6 years since becoming a Registered Midwife
Hobbies: Running and swimming

Local midwife Brianna Cavan is clearly in awe of her counterparts in other countries.

Brianna, who works with Midwives Grey Bruce, has all the luxuries of helping people give birth at Brightshores’s Owen Sound Hospital, and at hospitals in Walkerton and Hanover and also attends home births. The midwife she is paired with as part of a peer-to-peer program in South Sudan has so very few of those luxuries. Instead, Joseph Angok Deng Atem often has to contend with no running water, no electricity, transportation problems, even war and famine.

“The information that he knows is the exact same information that I know, it’s just whether or not the resources are on hand to provide that care,” she said.

Joseph Angok Deng Atem visited the area in 2017 and toured the birthing unit at the Owen Sound Hospital. “He was very impressed,” she said.

Learning about her peer’s work has been an eye opener. For a lot of women in the world, pregnancy can be very dangerous. That is far from the norm here.”

South Sudan has one of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world. Before 2012 there were only ten properly trained midwives serving 11 million people. Now there are more than 400.

Brianna has found there’s more to learn from Joseph than the other way around. “These midwives have so much knowledge about how to manage emergencies in a low resource setting where it takes a long time to get to a higher level of care,” she said. “There’s been a lot to learn from his experiences.”

“The level of dedication and passion it takes to be a midwife in South Sudan is incredible.”