In 2006, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) developed a standardised 3-day 'skills and drills' training package in Life Saving Skills- Essential Obstetric Care. The training package is based on the WHO Manual: Integrated Management for Pregnancy and Childbirth and has been developed in collaboration with the Department of Making Pregnancy Safer, WHO and in consultation with a wide group of experts from a multidisciplinary background (including midwives, obstetricians, paediatricians, public health specialists and anaesthetists) with extensive practical experience of maternal and newborn health in resource-poor areas as well as educational methods.
Maternal and newborn mortality and morbidity
Each year, more than 563,000 women worldwide die from complications of pregnancy and childbirth - that is one every minute! Many more survive but will suffer ill health and disability as a result of these complications. In addition, an estimated 4 million neo-natal deaths occur each year accounting for almost 40% of all deaths under 5 years. More than 75% of these deaths occur in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The health of the neonate is closely related to that of the mother and the majority of deaths in the first month of life could also be prevented if interventions were in place to ensure good maternal health.
At least 80% of all maternal deaths result from five complications that are well understood and can be readily treated:
We know how to prevent these deaths - there are existing effective medical and surgical interventions that are relatively inexpensive.
To reduce maternal mortality, it is important that all women have access to maternal healthcare services, particularly, skilled attendance at birth and timely access to Essential (or Emergency) Obstetric Care (EOC), when an obstetric complication occurs.
Two levels of EOC can be distinguished; BEOC and CEOC:
Basic Essential Obstetric Care (BEOC)- 7 signal functions
1. Parenteral antibiotics
2. Parenteral oxytocics
3. Parenteral anti-convulsants
4. Manual removal of a retained placenta
5. Removal of retained products of conception by Manual Vacuum Aspiration (MVA)
6. Assisted vaginal surgery (vacuum extraction)
7. Resuscitation of the newborn (using bag and mask)
Comprehensive Essential Obstetric Care (CEOC) - 9 signal functions
1. All 7 BEOC functions (above)
2. Caesarean section
3. Blood transfusion
Making it Happen programme
LSTM's Maternal and Newborn Health Unit has been awarded around £20m from DFID for the Making it Happen programme. You can find out more about how UK aid is helping to save mothers' and babies' lives through the Making it Happen programme at www.dfid.gov.uk 
The 12 countries involved in the Making it Happen programme are:
The Making it Happen scheme will see experts from the North-west travel to some of the world's poorest countries to support, monitor and evaluate health services to lead to better care for women.
It follows a successful two-year pilot of the programme in; Bangladesh, India, Kenya, Sierra Leone and Zimbabwe.
By the end of 2011, Making it Happen, with the support of UK volunteer midwives, obstetricians and anaesthetists working in the NHS, had improved the knowledge and skills of almost 3,000 healthcare providers from healthcare facilities.
The programme will enable 17,000 healthcare workers to provide emergency maternal and newborn care, including the training of over 1,000 national facilitators to sustain the impact of the programme beyond the immediate funding period.
To find out more
Please follow this link to the LSTM website for more details.
Making It Happen 
For more information please contact the Maternal and Newborn Health Unit at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, MNHU@liverpool.ac.uk