More mothers die in Zimbabwe than almost anywhere else in the world and the situation has been getting worse in recent years. This fall HPIC is launching a project with the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada (SOGC) in the hope that more Zimbabwean mothers and babies will survive pregnancy and childbirth.
Forty Zimbabwean health professionals will receive emergency obstetrical care training Sept. 17-22. HPIC has signed an agreement with the SOGC and the Zimbabwe Association of Church-Related Hospitals to offer the SOGC’s ALARM (Advances in Labour and Risk Management) International Program.
“This partnership with the SOGC and ZACH is going to upgrade the skills of Zimbabwean midwives, nurses and doctors and save mothers and children,” said Kendall Nicholson, HPIC’s Executive Director of International Programs. “Our focus on the health issues of women and children is the way to make lasting change.”
According to ZACH, “Zimbabwe has high maternal, neonatal and child mortality and morbidity rates when compared to other countries in the region and other regions of the world. The maternal mortality ratio continues to increase every year.” The most recent figures compiled by the United Nations Development Programme show that in Zimbabwe 790 mothers died for every 100,000 births compared to 12 in Canada in 2008.
“The impact of a mother’s death in any part of the world is life-shattering. For African children, it can also mean being out on the street with no one to take care of them and little chance of receiving an education,” Nicholson said. “Keeping mothers alive through pregnancy and childbirth is critical for families and societies.”
The ALARM International Program was developed in 1997 by the SOGC, which describes it as “a mobilizing tool designed to motivate health professionals to improve the delivery of emergency obstetrical care in resource-constraint countries.”
Through this three-way partnership with HPIC, the SOGC and ZACH, a total of 120 Zimbabwean health workers will be trained over three sessions. The ultimate goal of the ALARM program is that the students become the teachers and the training continues spreading knowledge and best practices all over the country.
Offering the ALARM training course in Zimbabwe is a component of HPIC’s Focus on the Health of Mothers and Children.