News in Brief: April 2012
NIGER, AFRICA: MIDWIFE TRAINING IN THE SAHARA DESERT
Alone and miles from a clinic, a nomadic woman delivers her baby in an encampment surrounded by the endless hot sands of the Sahara Desert in Niger, West Africa. Their chances of survival are questionable- Niger has one of the highest maternal and infant mortality rates in the world and is ranked as the worst place on earth to be a mother and child. These are difficult conditions faced by the Tuareg and Wodaabe tribes, but they are finding hope in the assistance provided through your continued support.
The NOMAD Foundation in collaboration with Globus Relief launched a Midwife and Healthcare Training Program last fall. Dr. Bob Skankey trained five illiterate nomadic women as midwives and healthcare liaisons to carry out obstetrical and newborn care in their remote communities. The women learned the importance of prenatal care, sanitary methods, vertex delivery techniques, and infection prevention. Each woman received a midwife kit with medicine and equipment such as: a sphygmomanometer, fetal stethoscope, gloves, headlamp, instruments, bulb syringes, and weighing scale and sling.
When Dr. Skankey returned to Niger in February 2012, the midwives had already assisted in 17 deliveries and successfully treated three women with postpartum hemorrhage and some postpartum and intrapartum infections. The nurse from the Foundation's area clinic & education center will follow up with instruction and consultation missions to every participating encampment each month. These important skills will empower the nomads to combine "ancient skills with new technologies to bring prosperity" to their communities and reduce the bleak outlook for pregnant women and infants.
With all the training and initial success, one midwife delivered a set of stillborn triplets. This unfortunate loss demonstrates that more work, preparation, and resources are needed to educate the Tuareg and Wodaabe and improve childbirth and diminish these tragic deaths. We appreciate your continued support of our programs!To help sustain healthcare training programs, click here.