Person of Influence- Adebola Aroboto
We are so excited to bring you this month’s Person of Influence and believe you will enjoy reading this interview as well as be inspired by Adebola’s story. She is a midwife working in the NHS and recently was awarded the British Journal of Midwifery Midwife of the Year award. Adebola truly embodies everything the Person of Influence feature is about, and we are honoured to have her on this platform.
Enjoy the interview!
Reach and Inspire: Ade, thank you for agreeing to be featured in this edition of Reach and Inspire magazine. Could you please introduce yourself to our readers and tell us a little bit about you?
Adebola: My name is Adebola Aroboto. I am first of all, a child of covenant. I am also a wife and mother of three beautiful children. I am a trained nurse and midwife. I specialise in four aspects of midwifery, which include: African Women’s Health, Female genital mutilation (FGM), Perineal Health and the examination of newborns. I am currently working as an FGM/perineal and examination of the newborns specialist at St George’s NHS University Hospital at Tooting.
Reach and Inspire: What led you to become a midwife? Is this something that you have always wanted to do?
Adebola: No, I had always wanted to become a nurse, but my experience as a student nurse looking after a woman with FGM in labour directed my path into midwifery. I knew that in order to make an impact in the lives of FGM survivors, I had to train to become a midwife. At the time, it was the area where the health complications of FGM were being recognised as a global health problem in the lives of women of a childbearing age and it needed to be addressed.
Reach and Inspire: Congratulations once again on your ‘Midwife of the Year’ award. The judges said your nomination stood out ‘ahead of all others’. How did you feel when you heard you were nominated, and what was it like finding out that you won?
Adebola: Thank you. Getting nominated as one of the first three finalists was exciting, however finding out that I won was incredible. It is a great honour.
Reach and Inspire: Last year, you also won the NHS@70 Excellence Awards UK for Outstanding Contribution. What do you attribute your success (if you would call it that) to?
Adebola: Firstly, I attribute it to the favour and grace of God upon my life (to God alone be the glory) and secondly, to hard work and passion. My work ethic is based on Colossians 3:23-24: ‘Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving (NIV).’ I do not see my career only as a profession but also as a ministry for women.
Reach and Inspire: Do you feel like you are in a ‘season’ of your life, where you are beginning to see the fruit of all your hard work?
Adebola: The Bible says that there is a time and season for everything. I wouldn’t say that this is a season of seeing the fruit of all my hard work; I have continually enjoyed the grace of God in my career, but I would say this is the time of rewards and for this I am continually grateful to God.
The Bible also says that “a man that is diligent in his business? He shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men.” Proverbs 22:29 (KJV).
Reach and Inspire: How do you think your Christian faith has helped you to get to where you are now?
Adebola: I can tell you with all confidence that my absolute dependency on God and his word has brought me to this place of honour, because in my family life and career, I am constantly seeking God for guidance before making any decisions.
Reach and Inspire: The theme for this edition is ‘Staying the course’. What does ‘Staying the course’ look like for you, especially in the present COVID-19 situation we’re in, in your profession as a midwife, and in your family life? How are you able to keep showing up, and keeping the faith, when things can seem so gloomy?
Adebola: In all situations, the Bible says we should give thanks. My faith in the capability of God and thanksgiving has always helped me to stay on course in every aspect of life. God has never left me without a testimony and most importantly, I always saturate my spirit with the things of God. If you are not careful of what you feed your spirit, especially in this season of the COVID-19 pandemic, you may inflict your spirit with fear. And faith and fear cannot cohabit. Please get information- knowledge is power, but it can be either positive or negative. Be selective about the information you receive; recycle the good news and thrash the negative news.
Reach and Inspire: You are not just a midwife; you work as a Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and perineal health specialist for the NHS. You mentioned an experience earlier in your career; how did this get you interested in FGM and why is your role so important?
Adebola: I am firstly a midwife and I also specialise in four areas of midwifery. As you are aware the harmful cultural practices against women and girls worldwide for no medical reason, has long term and short term health consequences. All these consequences affect women and girls physically, emotionally and socially. I became interested in FGM as a student nurse, whilst caring for a woman in labour with Female Genital mutilation. Having supported her through the difficult childbirth, the experience helped shape my career pathway in perineal health and as an ambassador for survival of FGM by raising awareness of the emotional and physical complications of FGM in pregnancy and working globally towards the eradication of FGM by 2030.
Reach and Inspire: I love something you said in the article about your award, ‘My personal mission has been to be the type of midwife that I would want to care for me if I were pregnant.’ Why is that your mission, and what does it look like for you on a day to day basis?
Adebola: Childbirth is a very important event in a woman’s life and has a major impact on all aspects of a woman’s life and family. I believe that midwives play a crucial role in helping women to achieve a normal and positive birth experience. I personally would want a midwife that not only cared about me, but was passionate and culturally sensitive to my needs as an individual. This requires practical skill and in depth knowledge. That is why my mission is to make FGM everyone’s business and to put an end to the practice of FGM globally by educating staff on issues surrounding FGM. It is also to ensure that no woman suffers in silence when it comes to her sexual health as a result of perineal injuries sustained from childbirth or the harmful practice of FGM.
Reach and Inspire: 2020 has already been such an interesting year so far, but with it being the International year of the Nurse and the Midwife, how do you hope to continue to highlight the important work that you and so many others do on a daily basis?
Adebola: It has been an extraordinary year already. Who could have guessed that it would be a year where we experienced a global pandemic? How ironic also that the year 2020 is also the year of the Nurse and Midwife. I hope this pandemic will continue to highlight the important work that all health professionals do and I hope myself and millions of my colleagues in faith worldwide continue to do our best on a daily basis as if we were doing it to God.
Reach and Inspire: Lastly, please let us know where we can find you and how people can connect with you (social media platforms) if they wish to do so.
Adebola: I am on Twitter- @aaroboto, Facebook- Adebola Aroboto, Instagram- @aaroboto
We hope you enjoyed reading this interview with Adebola. We would also like to use this opportunity to thank Adebola and all the NHS and essential workers for the incredible work they're doing at this time.
Do you know someone that deserves recognition as a Person of Influence? Contact us and they could be featured in the next edition of the magazine!