[The UNFPA indicates there is a dire shortage of trained midwifes globally. The estimated number reflecting a shortage of workers skilled in safe labor and delivery is staggering at nearly 350,000.](http://www.unfpa.org/sowmy/docs/investing_in_midwives.pdf) Over the next ten years, we'll need to work together to give these selfless heroines the skills they need to ensure mom and baby thrive during and after birth. With obstacles in the way including a lack of appropriate training tools, what's a person to do? If you're a highly innovative team based out of the University of Washington, you develop the PRONTOPack. We had the chance to ask for the story behind the innovation. This is what they have to say. Join us in learning more about the inspiration behind it, and how you can get one in this two part blog series.
**Can you tell us a bit about the [PRONTOPack birth simulator kit](http://maternova.net/low-cost-birth-simulator-kit)--first, what sparked the idea?**
"We know that simulation is an effective learning strategy, but before the development of the PRONTOPack, highly realistic birth simulation was prohibitively expensive and complex. The PRONTOPack Birth Simulation Kit and the PartoPants Birth Simulator, are game changers. From our initial experience in Mexico using highly-realistic simulation for obstetric and neonatal emergency training, it quickly became obvious that simulation is the best way to improve practice. Participants of our training program loved the realism and impact of our approach, and they kept asking us to leave behind our supplies so they could continue to practice simulation on their own. This is how we saw the need for a birth simulation kit that is all inclusive, low-cost, low-tech, easy to use, and portable, with the potential to play an important role in improving care worldwide. The PRONTOPack has everything you need to setup and run a birth simulation, including 3 simulation scenarios (SimPacks) to guide the user. The instructional DVD makes it easy to understand how to setup, execute and debrief simulations that impact patient outcomes and team functioning."
**What did people use before the PRONTOPack birth simulator kit?**
"In resource rich countries many institutions have expensive simulation centers, often costing millions to equip and maintain. The PRONTOPack is a low-cost, low-tech option to effectively conduct highly realistic birth and obstetric emergency simulation. There are other low-cost birth simulators in the market. Our simulator is PartoPants, made from recycled surgical scrubs outfitted with a vagina, a urethra, a rectum and other anatomic landmarks. But what we recognized was that effective simulation requires more than just the simulator. For example, there are other key tactile and auditory cues that the PRONTOPack provides like the PRONTOCry and the injection pad that bring realism to the scenario. We also include simulation scenarios and a guide in how to use them.
With the PRONTOPack we aimed to create an all-in-one portable solution to conduct obstetric emergency simulation anywhere, anytime."
**In what countries have you used the PRONTO birth simulator?**
"The PRONTO International team has used the PRONTOPack and PartoPants throught out the **USA, Mexico, Guatemala, Kenya, India, Ethiopia, and Namibia. Our products have also made their way to other countries including – Tanzania, Italy, and Portugal.**"
**What is your favorite testimonial that you have received on the PRONTOPack?**
'This type of activity and learning is interesting. Especially because we are able, through the live experience and through the use of a simulated patient, to strengthen our knowledge and more importantly to improve our sensitivity. A book cannot bleed a book cannot scream, a book cannot cry-out, a book cannot get complicated.'
-- Municipal Chief of Maternal Health, Chiapas, Mexico
'The program is important because it changes attitudes. We have had to work and fight against the bad habits we have formed over the years. I believe that a way to improve and make lasting changes is through the adoption of the PRONTO model.'
--OB/GYN and State Trainer, Chiapas, Mexico