Midwifery Emergency Skills and Helping Babies Breathe

25 November 2015
The second Midwifery Emergency Skills course and the third in a series of Helping Babies Breathe (HBB) courses were held at MRC Unit The Gambia, under the Vaccines and Immunity Theme, on the 11th and 12th November 2015. The main objective of the two day course is to train community health workers, including midwives and nurses in resource-poor countriesto acquire essential skills for managing obstetric emergencies and resuscitating newborn infants using simulation based training.

Credit: Robin Basu - Roy

Credit: Robin Basu – Roy

This year the Midwifery Skills training focused on postpartum haemorrhage, eclampsia, blood loss estimation and hand hygiene. Morning lectures included the Health Profile of The Gambia with an update from The Gambian Millennium Development Goals final report, maternal mortality trends at Edward Francis Small Teaching Hosptial (EFSTH), managing high risk pregnancy in The Gambia, recognising the sick obstetric patient, the Obstetric Early Warning Score Chart and the care of the sick obstetric patient.

The Gambia has one of the highest maternal mortality rates (MMR) in sub-Saharan Africa, so, this training is both timely and essential. The Countdown to 2015 Report revealed a total of 340 maternal deaths in 2013 (MMR 430/100,000 live births). 25% of maternal deaths were due to haemorrhage around the time of childbirth and 16% of deaths occurred as a result of hypertensive disorder during pregnancy and the immediate postpartum period. Millennium Development Goal#5 (MDG5); Improving Maternal Health, set a target of reducing maternal mortality to 263/100,000 live births by 2015.While this may not have been achieved, there has been significant improvement attributed to improvements in access to maternal and child health services. It is worth noting also the significant contribution made towards improving emergency obstetric care services could have immensely contributed to improving maternal survival.

As the World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that one million babies die each year from birth asphyxia (inability to breathe immediately after delivery). The HBB training was established to address the challenge as well as helping to move forward the WHO Millennium Development Goal #4 (MDG4); reduction of child mortality by two thirds from 1990 to 2015.

The goal of HBB is to have at least one person who is skilled in neonatal resuscitation at the birth of every baby. A key concept of HBB is The Golden Minute. The Golden Minute identifies the steps that a birth attendant must take immediately after birth to evaluate the baby and stimulate breathing. Within one minute of birth, a baby should be breathing well or should be ventilated with a bag and mask.

The two day  course was successfully facilitated by midwives and paediatricians from Imperial College London and the MRC Unit The Gambia and an obstetrician from the Edward Francis Small Teaching Hospital in Banjul.

Facilitators include; Marielle Bouqueau (Imperial College London, Midwife), Anna Battersby (MRC/Imperial College London, Paediatrician), Robin Basu Roy (MRC/Imperial College London, Paediatrician), Maggie Welch (Imperial College London, Midwife), Uduak Okomo (MRC Paediatrician), Claire Oluwalana (MRC Paediatrician), Idoko Olubukola (MRC Paediatrician), Beverly Donaldson (Imperial College London, Midwife), Patrick Idoko (MRC/EFSTH Obstetrician)

Read More about Helping Babies Breath on: http://www.helpingbabiesbreathe.org/

Below are some of the Midwives and Trainers who attended the Midwifery Emergency Skills Training on Day 1.

Credit: Maggie Welch

Credit: Maggie Welch