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Dr. Ron Siemens (second from right) is seen in Mozambique as part of his work with local communities to build stronger health care solutions. (Photo: submitted)

Motorcycles for maternal care: Ron Siemens makes the links in northern Mozambique

After raising five children of his own, including two sets of twins, Dr. Ron Siemens brings an empathetic, pragmatic approach to infant and childrens’ medicine.

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“Getting that empathy, getting that understanding made me a much better clinician" said Siemens. 

“You see all the minor and major obstacles parents have,” he said.

From road-testing motorcycle trailers for expectant mothers in Mozambique to creating self-sustaining chicken farms, hear why, over time, Siemens grew passionate about improving maternal and child health.

The veteran University of Saskatchewan pediatrician said lessons learned abroad give new residents and clinicians In Saskatchewan valuable experience. Tradition and strength in indigenous birth teachings also carry power for new babies entering the world, he said.

“We work very closely with the traditional birth attendants and the traditional healers,” said Siemens. “The combination of tradition and modern thought is so strong.”

He said water shortages, illness, overcrowded housing and poverty affect families in both Saskatchewan and Mozambique, noting solutions in both places have to work for residents themselves — rather than being imposed by experts from abroad.

He said young researchers in Mozambique are ready to build stronger health care solutions.

“It is a young vibrant population whose population is 50% are less than 20 years of age,” he said. “The community is in it from the start, the middle, the end.”

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