Throughout this region most deliveries are attended at home by a Traditional Birth Attendant (TBA) and they are often the only providers of maternity care. Therefore, in the absence of other medical facilities the training of TBAs can be recognised as an important means to improve maternal health in this remote setting. In view of these factors my main assignment during this mission was to facilitate training of TBAs and monitor their activities in the region. The aim of the course was to provide TBAs with the knowledge and skills to safely manage normal birth. The course was designed to aid the identification of high risk pregnancies and potential complications in labour. With a focus on the need for early referrals; to reduce delays in women receiving appropriate medical care and the prevention of avoidable maternal deaths.
In order to reinforce the work of the TBAs within their communities it is vital to involve community elders, as they are most influential and respected members of the community. Therefore, I also undertook specific training to educate Community Elders, both from villages where Doctors of the World have trained TBAs and elders from the town itself, in issues associated with maternal mortality and how the community can work together to prevent maternal deaths.