We finally have a date for the start of the next training for our village midwives - 15 January 2012. Unfortunately only 40 trainees can be accommodated on the training course run by the provincial Ministry of Health whilst there are 46 midwives waiting to be trained so sadly we will have to delay the training of 6 village midwives for a further year which is very disappointing for the women and for the villages concerned. We have recently selected the 60th village for Kids for Kids support and we dearly want to include the volunteers from this village in the list of trainees. Some of the older villages already have one trained midwife and in some cases we have been asked to train a new midwife to replace someone who has had to give up, usually because they have moved away from the village. In these cases we can feel assured that the woman will take her skills and use them in her new village providing the comfort of expert help at the time of pregnancy and childbirth to yet more women in the villages.
For the women who are finally selected as trainee midwives this will be both an exciting and sad time. Exciting as they are eager to learn their new skills but sad as they will be leaving their families for a year - the length of the training course. This indicates what a huge commitment it is for the women and their families. Many of the volunteers have young children and the families will care for these children whilst their mothers are away on the training course. However, the length of the course demonstrates the importance which we attach to ensuring that the women are adequately trained to deal with complex pregnancies and difficult delivery situations. This means that we can assure the women in the villages that they can trust the village midwives as they are highly trained. Their services are eagerly awaited by the women in the villages who approach pregnancy and childbirth with very mixed emotions - delight at the prospect of having a child but fear should they encounter problems during their pregnancy as there is currently no trained help at hand. Their fears are supported by the unacceptably high maternal mortality rate in the villages - a situation which we are earnestly trying to address.
Another exciting development is that we are in consultation with the provincial Ministry of Health over the possibility of KIDS FOR KIDS funding a new midwives training school at Mellit in the north of the province. This would ease the situation which we are presently facing by virtue of the limited capacity of the Midwives Training School in El Fasher. It would also mean that women from the villages in the north would be able to undertake their training closer to home which would enable family members to visit them more easily. We are still in the very early stages of discussions and will keep you informed of developments in due course.
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