Benin

In January 2000, an all-African team of MMMs pioneered a mission in the Republic of Benin. We had been invited to be part of a health service among the people of Zaffé, in the Diocese of Dassa-Zoumé. Sisters Maria Obotomah and Ekaete Ekop from Nigeria, and Radegunda Shayo from Tanzania, set out from Lagos, Nigeria, on a day-long journey to their new French-speaking home.

The people there had worked hard to make everything ready for the newcomers. They had been no clinic in the area and the government hospital was twelve kilometres away – not so far unless you had to walk there on a poor road. The people of Zaffé built a clinic and asked the Bishop to invite Sisters to operate it.

There were also no maternity services in the district. The women walked to Glazoué, the next district. Others delivered at home or with unauthorized clinics. At the villagers’ request, MMM opened a maternity section at Zaffé in 2004. They also extended the work to include a model farm and a programme to train young farmers to improve their income through better farm practices.

In Zaffé in 2019 there are four midwives and three nurse aides and a doctor is available. Two antenatal days are provided on which staff give health education. Even though charges are nominal, some mothers still find it difficult to pay for their medications, ultrasound and lab tests. Women are not turned away if they cannot pay. High-risk women are referred for assessment to the zonal hospital, 30 kilometers away.

Zaffé accepts normal deliveries and sends women with complicated labour by ambulance to the zonal hospital. There are postnatal services and vaccinations for children

The Sisters also run a dispensary, have outreach for primary health care activities, and work with the physically challenged.

MMMs in the Republic of Benin are involved in:

  • Health education in the health centre, villages, churches, and schools
  • HIV activities
  • Work with physically challenged people
  • Family planning education
  • Home visits and pastoral activities

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