Healthcare

Midwife Heroine in Hoeyang County

Choe Jong Sim, a teacher of obstetrical and gynecological department of Pyongyang Continuous Medical Education College, wrote as follows in her “Note of an Obstetrician”:

“I was born in a mountain village in Hoeyang County, Kangwon Province, six years before Korea’s liberation (August 15, 1945) from the Japanese military occupation.

As it was a far-flung village, there was not a midwife, to say nothing of a medical worker.

So, pregnant women had a difficult delivery and, sometimes, they died in childbirth.

Witnessing such tragedies, I believed that pregnant women would not avoid death. This motivated me to be a midwife.”

So, after graduation from a senior middle school in 1957 and a midwife training school, she started her career as a midwife at the Hoeyang County People’s Hospital.

In those days, she was the one and only midwife in the county.

Her hope came true, but some women did not readily believe her.

An old woman closed the door against her, saying how could a young girl assist a pregnant woman in childbirth.

So, the girl had to shiver with cold all night outdoors until the pregnant woman called her for being delivered of her baby.

A woman, with tears in her eyes, called the girl “mom” as she had saved the lives of her baby and herself.

She walked 12 to 16 km a day on average for the sake of pregnant women in the county and, sometimes, did not hesitate to go along 28-km mountain path through the snowstorm.

In this course, she has trained tens of assistant midwives.

In recognition of her devotion, the country awarded a title of Labour Hero to the 22-year-old girl in the national meeting of activists in the public health sector held in 1961.

It ensured that she studied at Pyongyang University of Medical Sciences and, after graduation, worked as an obstetrician and head of the obstetrical and gynecological department of the Pyongyang Maternity Hospital.

She wrote many books, including “Hygienic knowledge for pregnant women and nursing mothers” and “Clinical studies of abnormal obstetrics”, and developed many medical appliances, including an electronic acupuncture device, postpartum hemorrhage preventing device to be conducive to assistance of women in childbirth and medical treatment.

Even after she became a pensioner, she did her best for the medical care of women in Hoeyang County, her native place.

The country appointed her as a teacher of Pyongyang Continuous Medical Education College in 2007, treasuring her desire to devote her life to the improvement of women’s health.

During those days, she presented tens of essays to be conducive to education and, in 2016, was awarded a doctorate by developing a method of painless delivery.

In spite of her great age of 80, she is devoting herself to medical care and education.

Categories: Healthcare, Women of Korea

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