2002 HEALTH AWARD
Traditional Birth Attendant Program
Africa, Caribbean, India and Nepal
Sharon Kirkpatrick, Ph.D., R.N., vice president for institutional advancement at Graceland University, has spent more than 25 years helping children in need by establishing mother-child healthcare programs in third world countries. She has helped children in need living in Africa, India, Nepal and the Caribbean, empowering their villages to become self-sufficient in healthcare practices; she knows that health education and illness prevention techniques cannot be taken away even if political turmoil makes it impossible for her to travel into a country. Thousands of young lives are being saved each day by the significant reduction of infant mortality and the spread of infectious diseases through education, training and medical care provided by Kirkpatrick’s programs.
Kirkpatrick continued her work to reduce the infant mortality rate by establishing the Traditional Birth Attendant Program (TBAP). TBAP trains women to provide safe and timely pre- and post-natal care for home birthing within their communities. Other training sessions for village healthcare workers focus on nutrition, sanitation, immunizations, growth monitoring, family planning, herbal remedies and first aid. Additionally, while conducting a well-baby clinic in Congo, Kirkpatrick witnessed children with painful, debilitating ulcers on their legs. She began a long-term community treatment program that has aided thousands of children with leg ulcers.
Her knowledge, expertise and sincere dedication has inspired many villages to identify other health related problems through participatory research. With Kirkpatrick’s encouragement and mentoring, the training and skills taught to village healthcare workers are being applied to current problems, essentially improving the lives of thousands of children in need.