Amilia Mathew, 28, with newborn baby boy Sulaiman outside his home in in Yola, Nigeria.

Amilia Escaped a Deadly Militia Attack — and Became a UNICEF Midwife


In 2014, armed groups invaded Amilia Mathew's hometown of Michika, Nigeria, brutally killing hundreds of civilians. Mathew fled 145 miles away to Yola, the capital of Adamawa state. There, with help from UNICEF, she became a community health worker and rebuilt a fulfilling life for herself, protecting the lives of mothers and babies. 

In October 2018, UNICEF-trained midwife Amilia Mathew inspects the IV drip of a mother who has just given birth in Yola, Nigeria.

With UNICEF training, Mathew learned how to take care of pregnant women and newborns and how to deliver babies in challenging situations. In the past two years, she has safely delivered more than 1,500 babies and supported thousands of pregnant women and mothers. 

Amilia Mathew, 28, delivered this baby in nana As'mau clinic, Yola, Nigeria in October 2018.

For around US $2,000, the 28-year-old completed courses in Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI), Resuscitation of Newborns and Community-Based Newborn Care, among other subjects. Above, she holds a newborn baby, just hours old, who she delivered at Nana As'mau clinic in Yola. 

Community health worker Amilia Mathew (left) visits a new mother who recently delivered twins in the UNICEF-supported Nana As'mau clinic in Yola, Nigeria.

Nana As'mau clinic receives vital supplies from UNICEF, such as midwifery kits, a labor bed and other equipment, and basic drugs, critical for saving the lives of newborns. She visits new mothers at home, including this mom, who recently delivered twins at the clinic. 

Amilia Mathew (center, in her checked uniform) advises pregnant women and mothers on health issues during a community outreach activity in Yola, Nigeria in November 2018.

Mathew (center) shares information on prenatal care and women's health issues during community outreach activities. 

In Nigeria, where more than 600 newborn babies die every day due to lack of access to quality medical care, simple, practical measures — such as clean, safe water in health clinics, sterilizers and midwifery equipment — have helped reduce the newborn mortality rate across Adamawa state. 

In November 2018, community health worker Amilia Mathew (left) and her sister hold twins born at the UNICEF-supported clinic, Nana As'mau, in Yola, Nigeria.

This Mother's Day, honor the caring moms in your life by supporting UNICEF's lifesaving work on behalf of children around the world. 


Top photo: ICommunity health worker Amilia Mathew, 28, holds newborn Sulaiman, just hours after she delivered him in the UNICEF-supported Nana As'mau clinic in Yola, Nigeria in 2018. All photos © Reinier van Oorsouw for UNICEF