It is with very heavy hearts that we share that Hellen Mammeja Technau, a Maternal Health Young Champion, passed away unexpectedly last weekend. She was a South African midwife, whose passion for helping those less fortunate and her ability to “think big” led her to not only become the dedicated maternal health professional, but also a leader in the maternal health field in South Africa.
Hellen said herself:
“I am a great Young Champion of Maternal Health because I am motivated, enthusiastic and extroverted and a midwife passionate about maternal and infant health…lots of work remains to be done in our country regarding maternal health and the empowering of women, the youth and midwives.”
As a Young Champion, she identified the lack of coordination and communication between hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, NGOs, community health centers, and pregnant women as a key barrier to maternal health referrals and record keeping in and around Johannesburg. To address this challenge, she created a holistic database system to coordinate efforts between all entities.
She was a rock star in maternal health, appearing on national TV to discuss her ideas and speaking at various conferences on the subject. Her passion and dedication to the health of women across the globe will be truly missed.
Hellen always emphasized how important it was that in maternal health, women—midwives, nurses, and mothers—felt loved. She did her best to make others feel loved in all that she did. It’s a lesson that has influenced the many people who had the pleasure of knowing her.