Vancouver midwife Candace Plohman went to Haiti to teach midwives in the disaster-ravaged country, but says it’s the Haitians who are teaching her.

Plohman, who is chronicling her experience on her blog,, is one of 150 B.C. midwives being recognized today during International Day of the Midwife.

“I can’t get over how much I have learned in such a short time,” she wrote on her blog.

“The midwives here have been amazing and so patient, teaching me the ways of health care in Haiti. I’ve also been learning a lot about natural/Chinese medicine treatments.”

Plohman is learning to burn umbilical cords with candles rather than clamping and cutting, which cauterizes the cord and prevents infection.

Her team is also waiting for the delivery of a 40-year-old obstetrical ultrasound machine, which will save expectant moms $30 — a month’s wage — to use hospital machines.

Ganga Jolicoeur, executive director of the Midwives Association of B.C., said Canadian midwives play an important role training their counterparts in developing countries.

“The fact that (our midwives) are up on the latest (medical) information and skills ... a lot of that is transferable,” said Jolicoeur.

“Having said that, there’s also a lot of knowledge that is transferable (to us),” she added.

“One of our African placements (worked with) a woman who was 96 and had been a midwife since she was in her teens. I can’t imagine she didn’t pass on some wisdom to our midwives.”

Latest From ...