Your browser is no longer supported

For the best possible experience using our website we recommend you upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Letters From Yemen

  • Comment

‘Introducing the idea that people can help themselves to have better outcomes was clearly a challenge to be overcome’

Title: Letters From Yemen

Authors: Jean Mondon and S Elliott

Publisher: Suzanne M. Elliott

Reviewer: Kate Jack, advanced virology nurse, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust

What was it like?

Letters From Yemen is a beautifully compiled collection of diary excerpts and letters sent from Jean Mondon to her family when she spent two years working as a midwife in the Arab Republic of Yemen during the 1980s. This was a relaxing and enjoyable read that conjured up clear images of the landscape and people she met.

What were the highlights?

Jean was part of a team who opened up a women’s health clinic in a remote village near the Saudi Arabia border, with the aim of improving the health of mothers and children. Introducing the idea that people can help themselves to have better outcomes was clearly a challenge to be overcome. At times the sense of frustration at being a foreigner who was unable to speak fluent Arabic, but nonetheless trying to teach the women that the high rates of maternal and neo-natal deaths could be reduced by their actions, as opposed to being passively accepted, was palpable. The recounts of stories such as preventing obstetricians from conducting unsafe interventions, for example delivering a baby while smoking a cigarette, and refusing a request to undertake female genital mutilation illustrate the grittiness of working in a different clinical and social culture. However the professionalism and advocacy of good midwifery shone through.

Strengths & weaknesses:

There were vivid descriptions of a dusty landscape, rich colourful fabrics, donkeys, restaurants with scant attention to food hygiene, and cans of pop being opened with a Kalashnikov rifle. The book concentrates more on her experience of travel and adjusting to the environment rather than the clinical stories, although perhaps Jean was sparing her family of the reality of childbirth in the absence of free healthcare and Western technology.

Who should read it?

Anyone, particularly those with an interest in foreign aid work, overseas travel and fans of Call the Midwife.

yemen

yemen

 

 

 

 

  • Comment

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.

Related Jobs