Peace Corps Community Health Volunteer Madagascar, East Africa
Julia Kelley served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Fianarantsoa, Madagascar from April 2019 to March 2020 as a community health worker. Although all of the Peace Corps Volunteers were evacuated due to the coronavirus pandemic, Julia spent nearly one full year on the beautiful red island of Madagascar.
In Iarintsena, the community where she lived and worked, two nurse midwives serve a population of about 20,000 people. Madagascar has some of the highest maternal mortality rates in the world, mostly due to a lack of resources and access to healthcare. Midwives do the hard work to change this statistic and, in the process, form the backbone of communities in Madagascar.
Julia’s work with the health clinic in Iarintsena was to support these incredible midwives, teaching prenatal classes, tracking the weight of newborns, and transporting vaccines. She also worked with a local middle school teacher to design a youth reproductive health curriculum. When Julia was evacuated from Madagascar, her counterpart continued their work and is currently teaching reproductive health classes at the Iarintsena middle school.