The Liberia Prevention of Maternal Mortality (LPMM) in collaboration with the Liberia Midwifery Association (LMA) has completed a Master Mentor Training Programme for 30 midwives in Monrovia.
According to a press release, the training programme supported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) with funding from Johnson and Johnson and the World Bank is intended to create a pool of competent senior midwives as mentors, who will in turn provide on the spot coaching for junior midwives in practice to improve quality of care for women and adolescents during pregnancy, labor, childbirth and post-delivery and their newborns.
LPMM Programme Manager, Mrs. Anna K. Gbe, says the training workshop helped to sharpen the skills of the “Master Mentors” who will be used as trainers of key health staff at the county level. Those trained personnel at the county level will in turn train skilled birth attendants at health facilities as peer practice mentors to enhance continual education, skill building and competency to ensure delivery of quality Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn and Child Health (RMNCAH) services for women and adolescent mothers.
Mrs. Gbe explains that only midwives in leadership and who are currently practicing, well versed with national and international updates guidelines with commitment and willingness to travel in difficult conditions among others criteria were selected as national level masters mentors.
Meanwhile, the Director of Family Health Division at the Ministry of Health, Dr. Joseph Kerkula, is urging midwives across Liberia to remain committed to their tasks if the country must make progress in the reduction of maternal and newborn deaths.
Dr. Kerkula stresses that midwives have critical roles in stopping women from dying in childbirth as well as helping their newborns to survive. “Use friendly approaches to get pregnant women to deliver at the health facility. Our maternal death which is at 1072 per 100,000 live births is too high. Take a moment to find out why with all the free healthcare services in Liberia, mothers are still not coming to the facility to give birth”, he rhetorically asks at the opening of the workshop in Monrovia recently.
According to UNFPA, there are far too many women who lack access to these services. As a result, each year more than 300,000 women die during pregnancy and childbirth, some 3 million babies do not survive the first month of life, and another two and a half million babies are stillborn. Most of them could have been saved by the care of well-trained midwives within the framework of strong health systems.
It maintains that preventing maternal and newborn deaths and disabilities and empowering women to make informed, healthy choices and exercise their rights is key to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.
“To make this happen, we need to expand midwifery programmes, maintaining the highest global standards, and promote an enabling environment for midwives to effectively serve the needs of women and their families;” UNFPA says.