Frontline midwife: My story of survival and keeping others safe by Anna Kent

02 January 2023
Volume 31 · Issue 1

This book primarily details Anna Kent's experiences of working as first a nurse, then a midwife, for Médecins Sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders). Her journey takes her through south Sudan, Haiti and Bangladesh, and describes in graphic detail some of the heartbreaking experiences of the women she encountered. The author's fieldwork is interspersed with descriptions of NHS midwifery care undertaken when she returns to the UK. While the subject matter prevents the book from being described as an ‘easy read’, it is accessible, with short, powerful chapters and strong depictions of places and people.

Given the content, the book has the potential to be perceived as an example of ‘white saviour’ literature, in which an enlightened Westerner heroically comes to the aid of passive non-white people. Indeed, when reading the opening chapter describing Kent's comfortable life in the UK and her preparation for her first ‘mission’, I did at first have a sense of foreboding that the book may present an uncomfortable dynamic between healthcare provider and recipient.

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