Chelsea and Westminster Hospital NHS Foundation Trust has partnered with Kitovu Hospital to deliver an obstetrics skills course in rural Uganda.

The aim of the project is to improve the quality of maternal healthcare in rural communities in and around Masaka district by training healthcare workers to identify and respond to obstetric emergencies more effectively, reducing maternal and newborn death and illness.

 The project is being run at 33 rural health centres and hospitals where births are attended by skilled professionals. Most of these healthcare workers have little or no post-qualification education in obstetric emergencies. The training course, which has been developed, refined and tested in Uganda, South Africa and Ethiopia, is being delivered by Dr Ed MacLaren, a Global Health Worker from Chelsea and Westminster Hospital. Participants learn how to manage complex obstetric emergencies, including haemorrhage, hypertension, and obstructed labour. At the completion of the training, all participants receive workbooks and a certificate. An important benefit of this outreach project is that it enables the project to see the challenges these healthcare workers face on a daily basis in their own workplaces, and tailor the training accordingly. As the project advances, the project plans to identify and train healthcare workers who could train others, ensuring the project continues to have a long-term benefit.

Since June 2016, 23 health centre workers have been trained to recognise and manage unwell mothers and newborns.

Nakasojjo Health Centre II

Nakasojjo Health Centre II is a small facility in Rakai district which provides antenatal care for 60 women a month, and looks after 30 women in labour each month. In July, Dr Ed MacLaren, trained two clinical officers and two midwives in obstetric emergencies, all of whom were grateful for the training and the opportunity to practise on obstetric and neonatal manikins. Dr MacLaren found the participants engaged and enthusiastic and, on average, they demonstrated a 44% increase in core knowledge in their post-course tests.

On a subsequent visit, Dr MacLaren was delighted to hear of the success of the training first-hand from John-Paul, the clinical officer in charge, and Cate, the senior midwife. The week after the training programme was held, Nakasojjo Health Centre received patients suffering from a range of different, complex issues, including a shoulder dystocia, a baby needing neonatal resuscitation, a breech delivery and a cord prolapse. John Paul and Cate said they felt much more confident having had the additional training and were very happy to put their new skills into action and deliver healthy babies.

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