More than 500,000 women worldwide die every year from complications of pregnancy and childbirth - one every minute. But next week a unique course will be launched at the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine which could save the lives of thousands of women in the developing world.
So significant is the new course that the Head of the World Health Organisation's ‘Making Pregnancy Safe' initiative, Dr Monir Islam, is visiting the School next week to lend his support to the venture.
The course is based around a new Life Saving Skills Manual for Emergency Obstetrics Care. This will give health workers including nurses, midwives and doctors from ten countries the opportunity to update their skills in providing emergency obstetric care in situations where the sort of technical facilities available in developed countries are just not available.
The manual has been compiled by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in partnership with the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and its consultancy arm, Liverpool Associates in Tropical Health (LATH). It gives a comprehensive, step by step guide for health workers on dealing with specific emergencies ranging from pre-eclampsia or haemorrhage to obstructed labour and sepsis.
Those taking part in the first training course are currently studying for a Diploma in Reproductive Health at the School. They are typical of hundreds of overseas health professionals who work every day in difficult situations to try to save mothers and babies' lives and for whom the manual is designed.
Senior obstetricians, midwives and anaesthetists from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, the Royal College of Midwives and the College of Anaesthetists , will be in Liverpool to act as trainers on the course.
If this pilot proves to be successful it is hoped it will be exported out into the ‘field' for use by trainers in updating the skills of health professionals working in resource poor countries all over the world and become an important reference for emergencies.
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