**Reprinted with permission from our friends at the Wellbeing Foundation Africa.
In a unique effort to educate and empower health workers in Kwara State, Nigeria, and in furtherance of its long-standing commitment to the improvement of maternal, newborn and child health (MNCH) indices in Africa, the Wellbeing Foundation partnered with the Flight for Every Mother (FEM) project to facilitate an on-site medical training program aimed at aiding African countries such as Nigeria to achieve the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) 4 and 5 before 2015.
Having taken place on the 7th of September 2013 in Ilorin, Kwara State, the Flight for Every Motherproject, spearheaded by Dr. Sophia Webster, successfully impacted both in-service training at theCivil Service Clinic Ilorin and pre-service training at the Kwara State School of Nursing and Midwifery (KWSNM), both of which will inevitably reduce the incidence of maternal mortality and deaths due to post-partum bleeding, sepsis, pre-eclampsia/eclampsia, and neonatal asphyxia.Flight for Every Mother is a maternal health project initiated by U.K. based obstetrician/gynecologist,Dr. Sophia Webster, and endorsed by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (RCOG), the International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics (FIGO), and the Federal Ministry of Health. The project is a unique journey by air across Africa to raise awareness about maternal health, particularly in the sub-Saharan region, traversing 26 countries, including Nigeria, which are furthest from attaining MDG 5. Working with the Kwara State Ministry of Health(KWSMoH), the Wellbeing Foundation funded the inclusion of Ilorin in the FEM project for the benefit of Kwarans, at the Civil Service Clinic Ilorin (CSCI) and the Kwara State School of Nursing and Midwifery (KWSNM).
At CSCI, midwives under the Midwives Service Scheme (MSS), the Maternal and Child Health Component of the Subsidy Re-investment and Empowerment Program (SURE-P), and midwives under full-time employment of the CSCI and Sobi Specialist Hospital (SSH) were given both didactic-style and practical sessions on the three top killers of Nigerian maternal women: post-partum bleeding, sepsis and pre-eclampsia/eclampsia. In addition to the hands-on training, this project afforded the midwives the opportunity to learn best-practice on the balloon tamponade method of arresting post-partum hemorrhage, using nothing more than a condom, a urethral catheter, a surgical string, and 500ml of sterile water. Dr. Sophia Webster rounded off the CSCI trip by donating medical equipment to both teams of nurse-midwives who came from CSCI and SSH, thereby enriching the capacity of both hospitals to provide healthcare services to Kwara women.
At the Kwara State School of Nursing and Midwifery, students drew inspiration from Dr. Webster's zeal to combine the practice of obstetrics with piloting. They also gained knowledge on the balloon tamponade method of arresting post-partum hemorrhage, a first time learning experience for both students and instructors, and practiced how to treat post-partum bleeding using the Baby Nathalie mannequin. Before leaving, Dr. Webster donated the balloon tamponade device to the school, in order to facilitate further teaching sessions in the future. Dr. Webster also taught on the importance of neonatal resuscitation, and the student midwives and nurses admitted that they learnt the importance of calling out for help, especially when the mother is losing blood actively, and the baby's APGAR score is sub-optimal.
At the end of the day, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa and the FEM project were happy to have successfully educated and empowered health workers in Kwara State in an effort that will help push Nigeria towards achieving MDGs 4 and 5. With the MDGs deadline looming, the Wellbeing Foundation Africa urges all MNCH stakeholders to leverage their diverse skills and assets while working together, especially through regular pre-service and in-service training of midwives, nurses, and community health workers, with the common objective of achieving these Goals.
Dr. Daniel Kimani is a trained and licensed medical officer in Kenya, holding a Bachelor of Medicine & Surgery, and a post-graduate certificate on basic oncology training. Dr. Kimani is the founder of the Global Cancer Care and Research Institute, and is an expert in clinical colposcopy — a procedure to examine the cervix, vagina, and vulva.