I don't, but I would like to...
... have one cover or postcard with post mark from each post office from Faroe Islands.
They are not so many, but without you will not be possible.
I'm waiting your feedback... and of course I will support the cost deliveries or I'll send you back some nice cover with stamps from Portugal.

Please e-mail me for details...

Monday, 4 April 2011

Traditional Women's professions

The Midwife
When talking about traditional female professions, the midwife probably counts as the oldest. Since the earliest days of mankind, experienced women acted as midwives for other women, and there, as well as in other disciplines, probably have been certain women in the clan, village or local community, which practically had it as a career.

On the Faroe Islands has ancient concept nærkona "(near/close woman), which originally acted as midwife - and probably also as the nurse in the neighbourhood.  These were self-taught women with some knowledge of midwifery, but without much knowledge of complications. After the regular midwife came, these women often acted as their helpers, or assisted at the birth if the midwife did not arrive in time.

In his "Reports from a Travel in Faroe Islands 1781 - 1782" Jens Chr Svabo writes that there are midwives in the Faroe Islands at the time, but that they lack basic skills. He suggests that Faroese women should be educated in midwifery in Denmark - but it is uncertain whether this actually happened.

In the late 19th Century, several Faroese women went to Denmark to train in the midwifery profession. Back in the Faroes they were placed different islands and had their own districts of responsibility. In those days women gave birth at home, and the midwife had to be ready at all times to go to women who were about to deliver their babies. The infrastructure was not developed back then, and there are many harrowing stories of midwives, who have travelled over mountains or have been sailed across the sea in rain and sleet and snow storms. There are even stories of midwives, who were heavily pregnant themselves, but still had to go out in the storm to assist other women during childbirth.

In the mid-sixties it became common for women to give birth in the three hospitals in Tórshavn Klaksvík and Tvøroyri. This made it easier for midwives and much safer for the mothers, since there was also access to medical assistance.

We have chosen to bring pictures of two famous Faroese midwives with children they have delivered. The first is Ebba Wiberg, who, up to late seventies, was a midwife on Suðuroy. The other is Astrid av Rógvu, who throughout her adult life worked as midwife in Søborg, Denmark, where she had her own maternity clinic.

The Nurse
Just like the midwife the modern nurse roots back to the woman's traditional role as the caretaker for the sick and weak in the family. There probably has not been much distinction between care and treatment, and in most neighbourhoods, there have been people, mostly women, who knew little about healthcare.

In medieval Europe there was some form of organized nursing around the monasteries, where monks and nuns took care of the sick and infirm.  The monasteries built a fairly extensive knowledge of nursing, but the purge of the monasteries during the Reformation in the sixteenth century was a major setback for nursing in the reformed countries.

During the time that followed, nursing was performed by uneducated women in the few hospitals, and it was not until the first half of the nineteenth century, that proper care of patients was organized.   At that time the Deaconess Movement started in Germany, where mostly unmarried women from the bourgeoisie received lessons in patient care.

In 1860 the legendary Florence Nightingale created The Nightingale School in London, partly inspired by Deaconess Movement.  This is considered as the foundation for the modern nurse training.

Concurrently with the development the medical science, the need for professionally trained nursing personnel arose.  In the late nineteenth century they started to educate nurses in Denmark, and under pressure from, among others, The Danish Nurses Organization, founded in 1899, nursing was chartered in 1933.

The Faroe Islands followed the trend a little later than the Danish. After the Land-Surgeon, based in Tórshavn, for centuries had been the only medical officer in the Faroes, the first  district medical officer was  stationed on Suðuroy in 1852.  In 1872 a doctor was stationed in Klaksvík and the Northern Islands, and in 1883 another one in Vestmanna, who was responsible for the Western Isles, Norðstreymoy and Norðeysturoy.

The centuries-old hospital in Argir near Tórshavn, which primarily had served as a leper colony, was replaced by Færø County Hospital in 1829. This hospital was in use until it was replaced  by the new Queen Alexandrine's Hospital in 1924. In 1898 a hospital was built in Klaksvík which served the Northern Islands.  In 1904 a hospital was built in Tvøroyri on Suðuroy. These three hospitals have since expanded to their current standard and are still in use. In 1908 a tuberculoses sanatorium was established in Hoydalar at Tórshavn, which was used until the early sixties.

It goes without saying that the establishment of hospitals and sanatorium created a need for qualified nurses. The first trained nurse on the Faroes was deaconess Mette Cathrine Thomsen, who worked in Tórshavn 1897 to 1915, mostly at the Faroe County Hospital. She was later joined by several other nurses, Danish and Faroese, and it became common practice that young Faroese women travelled to Denmark to train as nurses. In 1960 a nursing school was established at Landssjúkrahúsið (National Hospital) in Tórshavn, which has trained Faroese nurses ever since.

Besides working in hospitals, other forms of nursing posts have been established, which cover home care, elderly care, school nursing etc.

On the stamp, we have decided to bring two images from Klaksvíkar Sjúkrahús. The background motif is from 1919. The man in bed is a young Norwegian, Monrad Jacobsen, who was seriously injured when he was about to unload coal from a Norwegian freighter to a whaling station at Fossánes on Borðoy. The woman on the left is Elsebeth Fr. Malena Johansen b. 1887.  The woman on the right, in nurse uniform, is probably Oluffa Bærentsen, who at the time was head nurse at the hospital.

The other picture,  the woman with a child, shows one of the institutions in Klaksvíkar Sjúkrahús. Petra Oluffa Jensina Fredrikka Hansen was born on 24 October 1895, a month after her father was lost with the ship "Bikuben". She was named after the crew of the ship, hence the long name.  This was around the time when the hospital in Klaksvík was  built, and Petra's mother, Marianna Joensen, worked there all her life. When Petra grew up, she also started to work in the hospital, and mother and daughter were nicknamed Marianna and Petra á Sjúkhúsinum. Petra, who never married, thus spent her entire life at the hospital.
Anker Eli Petersen

Technical data:
Values: stamps of 6.00 DKK and 16.00 DKK
Date of issue: 21-II-2011
Author: Anker Eli Petersen
Technique: Offset
Printer: Cartor, France

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