Our partnership plans to train eight nurse midwives, to undertake obstetric emergency surgery by a system of overlapping placements of experienced UK obstetricians (3.5 months duration). Our goal is to provide an effective comprehensive Emergency Obstetric Care service (EmOC) to rural areas of Bong County in Liberia. The project is based in two hospitals in Bong County which are equipped for obstetric care; CB Dunbar and Phebe.
Volunteers must have passed MRCOG or equivalent, and may be senior trainees, consultants or Trust doctors, who may have recently retired from practice.
First year of the project
The first year of this project commenced in October, 2013 when 2 midwife trainees were recruited, registered and commenced their training in Bong County’s government maternity hospital, CB Dunbar.
The training has been facilitated by a Gambian consultant obstetrician supported by MCAI senior international volunteer consultant obstetricians (one from both the UK and the Netherlands). After an incredibly promising start to the program, international volunteers had to be withdrawn from Liberia in May 2014 when the Ebola out-break escalated.
Since then, our two midwives who were undergoing training in advanced obstetrics, including abdominal and other life-saving surgery, have continued to work under the supervision of their local trainer, and CB Dunbar, the hospital where they work. They have succeeded in continuing to provide comprehensive emergency obstetric and neonatal care throughout the Ebola crisis. This has been extremely valuable for Liberian women as the vast majority of maternity services in Liberia closed completely throughout most of this period, and those hospitals that remained open offered minimal obstetric activity.
This success has in no small part been due to the continued work and skills of our trainees, who for the last 6 months have been operating independently. We are hopeful that their success will lay the groundwork for continuing this program in Liberia post the Ebola epidemic, and we have 2 further midwives identified to enter the program and hope to commence their training in the next few months
The project has been undertaken in partnership with the Liberian Ministry of Health, the World Health Organization (WHO), Maternal Childcare Advocacy International (MCAI) and the Advanced Life Support Group (ALSG),
This project was funded by THET and UKAID and from 1 September 2012. MCAI is now responsible for funding the project.
Liberia in context
Largely as a result of recent armed conflict, there is an extreme shortage of trained healthcare workers in rural areas. Although three hospitals in Bong County have facilities for obstetric surgery, pregnant women and girls in rural areas have to travel great distance on very poor roads to reach a facility where they can be treated.