Saturday, 16 January 2010

Off to Kamakwie and the opening of Makeni's midwifery school

We left early on the long drive to Kamakwie. The traffic in Freetown is terrible and to avoid the morning jams we took the extremely bumpy but very beautiful mountain road. Quite how Charlie and Bridgetta managed to sleep as we drove along that road I have no idea!

We stopped in Makeni to attend the opening of the new midwifery school. It is a very important development for Sierra Leone as currently there is only one midwifery training school for the whole country (which is in Freetown). This means that it is very difficult to recruit and retain staff in the rest of the country. The midwifery school offers more nurses a chance to train as midwives and also those who are from the Northern area an opportunity to train closer to home. There is 75 students in this first intake with another 75 starting later in the year. Students are offered a scholarship for tuition and associated costs if they commit to a 2 year posting following qualification. This will hopefully increase the incredibly low numbers of qualified midwives currently based in the provinces and in Sierra Leone as a whole.

I am meeting with the Midwife in charge of the midwifery school at the end of the month, to arrange working in collaboration with them as part of my year with Health Unlimited. I will be working in Northern Bombali so I'll have the opportunity to provide some of their classroom based teaching sessions and create a link for the students between the classroom and their practical training when they are on placements in Northern Bombali.

The school was opened by the First Lady of Sierra Leone (the President's wife) and the students acted out a powerful sketch highlighting the delays which lead to maternal mortality in Sierra Leone.

1 comment:

  1. Had to laugh about sleeping colleague's during the drive via the mountain road...impossible!
    I remember Bernard told...go ahead, have a pee, this road is so calm. And while I was sitting there, 3 militari cars passed us!
    About the commit to a 2 year posting...in a magazine for midwifes I saw an call up to donate 5000,- euro to realise a well trained local midwife in Benin (West Africa)for 5 years in a clinic. This money will cover her salari and accommodation in exchange for doing her job/practice and educate nurses.
    It is a pity but so understandable that well educated people leave Sierra Leone to work somewhere else where there is good money!

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