Adopting novel ways of delivering midwifery training

Rachel Gasgoine - a Midiwfe from Mid-Wales reflects on her visit to Gondar and Kola Diba Health Centre to help deliver pioneering midwifery training.

I am a midwife from Brecon Birth centre, Mid-Wales. Last November I was invited to organise and participate in a two week Gondar/Leicester Midwifery training project, part of the Koladiba Community Project run by Christine Iliffe and Dr Shitaye. The Leicester-Gondar Link had immediately struck me as organised, dynamic and dedicated (all the things I aspire to be!) so I jumped at the chance. I met up with Becki Crook and Zaheera Essat  - two lovely midwives from Leicester and we liaised with Tatek and Endeshaw – our Ethiopian midwifery colleagues . Together we devised a midwifery training workshop aimed at encouraging ‘safe birth ‘ practice and coping with obstetric emergencies.

My main contribution to the week came in the form of a pair of old tracksuit trousers, a pink sleeve from a jumper and a plastic baby doll. In the uk we use mannequins to train our midwives, however they cost £1000’s , so I devised kit for £3.00 which was slightly more portable! I fashioned a uterus from the sleeve with the baby doll inside and put them in the trousers. We took it in turns to wear the trousers and practice ‘giving birth ’in different positions .It is usually safer and more effective to push your baby out in an upright position –just like going to the toilet! But many countries including our own adopted the custom of women giving birth on their backs with their feet in stirrups. This can feel very impersonal, undignified and exposed-try it at home! Over time hospitals and mothers have started to realise that the original ways were the best and women will naturally adopt an upright position if left to their own devices. This way gravity, the position of the baby and the mothers movement aid the birth rather than hinder it.

Birthing Trousers.jpg

Anyway, back to my main point…In Gondar, we were trying to sow the seeds of confidence in the local midwives, to allow women to give birth adopting a birth position that was beneficial for them and with more privacy, dignity and respect. This in turn would have the potential for improving the mothers recovery and neonatal outcomes. We would also hope it would encourage a mother to return to the hospital for her next baby. All the midwives we met were very knowledgeable and it was a pleasure to work with them devising ways to make the local mothers experiences more positive and less frightening.

Written by Rachel Gasgoine

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