Most of the Worldwide Healing Hands medical team members congregated at the San Francisco airport on October 27, 2012. One team member left from New Zealand and joined us in Kathmandu. Once in Kathmandu, the physicians had to appear before the Nepal Medical Counsel for an interview in order for us to be granted temporary licenses practice medicine in Nepal. We flew to Bhadrapur and continued by van for a 3-hour drive over bumpy and often unpaved roads to Ilam in eastern Nepal.
The midwife training took place at the Ilam Community Hospital. The hospital staff was very helpful and graciously brought delicious meals to us and the midwives. We all slept in tents on the roof of hospital. The classes ran early morning to late in the evenings.
Our midwife training specialist, Lynn Arnold, provided training to midwives from the eastern region of Nepal. Many of these midwives traveled for 4 to 5 days on a bus (that was neither air-conditioned nor comfy) to attend the training. Several of our team physicians also helped to train the midwives.
We equipped each of the 10 midwives with basic supplies, including a blood pressure monitor, stethoscope, retractable tape measure, 2 gestational wheels (to calculate due date), 4 to 6 disposable aprons, several packages of vitamins, disposable birth kit, and the booklet entitled Helping Babies Breathe.
The training included gestational age assessment, pap smears, newborn exams, resuscitation, use of vacuum, suturing, post-partum hemorrhage, and many other procedures to promote maternal and infant health—and much more. For example, none of the midwives had ever seen a gestational wheel to estimate delivery date.
The midwives learned skills that they will take back to their communities to provide a much higher level of care. And they are committed to provide training to other midwives in their areas.
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