The Senegal Health Institute is located in Kafountine, Senegal. The Institute is operated by Dr. Cheikh “Atab” Dieme and his wife Jill Dieme, a practicing midwife, and founder and Executive Director of the Institute. Atab is also the primary general physician at the Hospital in Kafountine.
Atab was born and raised in Kafountine, a rural fishing village in the Casamance region of Southern Senegal. A pivotal moment in his life occurred after a serious accident as a teenager. His parents had to take him to a traditional healer, as they could not afford to take him to the hospital. However, his wounds were too severe, and worsened. They ended up making the arduous journey to Ziguinchor, several hours away, where there was a better equipped facility.
Atab underwent amputation of his leg and spent a year healing in the Ziguinchor hospital. During that time, he was inspired to study medicine and to serve the people of his community. He interned in France and after earning his medical degree returned home. Practicing since 1982 in the rural hospital of Kafountine, he has become much loved by the villagers and well respected throughout Senegal.
Born and raised in Carmel, CA, Jill was exposed to multicultural influences while traveling with her British born mother throughout her youth. Her experiences in Great Britain, Europe, and Mexico would prove to be the perfect foundation for her career work as a midwife.
Jill found her calling in 1996 as an advocate for women’s birthing choices and women’s health. She has been active in the birthing communities in California, New York, and with the Mennonite families in Virginia. A Certified Professional Midwife and licensed in California, Jill is a graduate of The National Midwifery Institute.
With the goal of attending births, improving birthing conditions and contributing to the education and empowerment of impoverished women, Jill found herself again traveling the globe. She spent six months in Brazil working with local midwives in high volume birth clinics for the under served. In 2009, she started working with the midwives and traditional birth attendants in the village of Kafountine. Living amongst the village people she met her future husband and partner in the Senegal Health Institute which she now considers home.