The third training visit to Sierra Leone as part of the Kambia/Gloucestershire International Health Link Funding Scheme (IHLFS) took place last month, May 2011.  Maud Hardy, midwife from Leeds, and Sonia Maisey, Intensive Care Nurse from Cheltenham, ran courses at the Kambia Hospital in obstetrics, adult and neonatal resuscitation and basic nursing skills over five days for 29 Maternal and Child Health Aides (MCHAs) and 28 Voluntary Nursing Aides (VNAs).

The visit was part of the three-year funded project to provide training to staff at the Kambia Hospital and rural health centres throughout the district to improve maternal healthcare skills.  Further visits are planned for this year and next. The project is run jointly between The Kambia Appeal, the Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the Kambia District Health Management Team.

MCHAs (in the pink uniforms) work out in the district running health centres where they provide antenatal care and safe deliveries. They have three years of MCHA training before they qualify.  Topics covered during this refresher training visit included normal pregnancy and labour, neonatal resuscitation and recognising and dealing with obstetric emergencies.  Nursing Aides (in blue) are ‘untrained’ and work at the Kambia Hospital as volunteers.  They are unpaid and learn nursing skills on the job. Their refresher training included hand hygiene, disposal of sharps, identifying shock in adult patients and adult resuscitation. All the trainees complete a pre and post training questionnaire, so that skill levels can be determined and progress tracked. All MCHAs and VNAs in Kambia receive annual refresher training over the three years as part of the IHLFS programme.

If you would like to take part in midwifery training in Kambia in 2011 or 2012, please contact David Holmes on 08454 222337. Visits are usually 10 days long, comprising 5 days on intensive training.  The cost of flights, travel visas, board and lodging and vaccinations is provided by the IHLFS grant.  Accommodation is at The Kambia Appeal’s permanent base in Kambia Town.

MCHAs discussing stages of normal labour

Sonia Maisey with voluntary nurses during her nursing skills course

Maud Hardy giving refresher training in obstetrics to MCHAs

MCHAs sit the post-training questionnaire

It’s all over!