Wenifreda Soto: Not Your Ordinary Midwife | Pinay.com
People would sometimes see her in church or in the street wearing her simple plain pants and printed blouse or shirt. She never fails to smile and say “thank you” whenever people kiss her hand as a sign of respect. Whenever she’s at home, you would often see her welcoming visitor especially pregnant women.
Miss Wenifreda “May Wennie” Soto, 65, is a Filipina retired public midwife in Nabua, Camarines Sur. Despite the fact that she decided to retire last year, she has still managed to check the condition of would-be mothers in Barangay Tandaay.
The municipal government wants her to continue her job despite her retirement. But for her, even without the officials asking her, she still wants to continue her work because it’s her passion. This is the reason why she never hesitates to welcome patients in her house even during her resting time and unholy hours.
“My body and mind still wants to continue because that’s what I used to do for more than 30 years. If the people seek my service, I am very much willing to help them,” May Wennie said.
In her 36 years of service, she is proud to say that she has a track of 0 mortality rate. For her, the life of the mother and child is precious and their safety is always a priority.
May Wennie’s compassion and unselfish commitment in serving pregnant women and infants is the reason why she was chosen to be a Health and Management Information System (HAMIS) Achievement Awardee. She was hailed too as “Natatanging Komadrona” (Outstanding Midwife of the Philippines) in 2003. Admirably, she refused to keep the prize worth Php 50,000 for her personal benefit. Rather, she used it to start the “Botika Binhi” (now Botika ng Barangay), a chain of mini-drugstores which aim to make affordable medicines accessible to the poor.
“I organized a seminar for barangay health officers so they would be familiar with Botika Binhi project. I even shared starting capital to few communities so they would have their own Botika”, May Wennie said
This project had 34 outlets in 42 villages in Nabua. Though some of these were dissolved due to mismanagement, she’s hoping that this project will soon be revitalized. Thus, some municipal officials offered suggestions on how to re-live this project.
In 2008, the Civil Service Commission (CSC) chose her as one of Dangal ng Bayan Awardees because of her dedication as a midwife. The recognition was given to her by former president and now Pampanga Congresswoman Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Even before the recognitions she received, May Wennie is already known for her dedication in serving the community. One of her notable efforts was giving toilet bowls to indigent families to raise awareness on the importance of cleanliness and proper waste management. She also encouraged mothers to nourish their children through a project she pioneered called “Weighing Post project”.
Aside from general health projects, she had also aced the entrepreneurial projects. One of these was the Pig Dispersal Project which had provided income to those indigent families in her community.
May Wennie also spearheaded the establishment of Birthing Clinic in her village. It was her way to provide pre and post natal and reproductive health services to women. So far, the health centre (where she used to serve) and the Birthing Clinic are now improved facilities. The clinic accepts patients even those who are from other villages in Nabua.
Despite her busy life, May Wennie never forgets to do his job as a parent. As a mother of a head nurse, marine transportation graduate, diocesan priest and mechanical engineer, she’s proud to say that her children are all proud of her. She’s also thankful to her husband Romeo (who passed away last year) for the undying support and love while she’s busy fulfilling her mission in life.
“I am thankful because they supported me in my journey. They are proud of me and I guess like me, they all want to help Filipinos too.” May Wennie said.
May Wennie admitted that being a midwife was far from her first dream because she used to dream of becoming a nun. She wanted to serve God. Fortunately, she can say that she has served the Lord in many other meaningful ways.
According to her, “Serving people is like serving God. I don’t feel I am tired whenever I am saving life. I feel satisfied every time I take part on God’s creation through bringing baby into the world”.
Photos are courtesy of Miss Wenifreda Soto