Wester Ross medical charity featured on Al Jazeera

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A group of midwives in Bong County pictured with MCAI founder Prof David Southall in the back row

The work of the Wester Ross-based international medical charity Maternal and Childhealth Advocacy International in Liberia has featured on Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based news channel.

The documentary first aired on 25th July in a full-length episode of the channel’s medical programme, ‘The Cure’. The episode is also available to watch on its website, Aljazeera.com.

In February this year, a film crew accompanied MCAI’s honorary medical director and founder, Professor David Southall — who lives in Laide, Wester Ross, with his wife, Dr Rhona MacDonald — on a visit to Liberia to capture the charity’s obstetric, paediatric and neonatal project on film. The documentary showcases MCAI’s project — in collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Health, WHO and the UN’s Fund for Population Activities — in which midwives and physician assistants are trained by Liberian senior doctors in advanced obstetric techniques, including surgery.

MCAI’s first two trainee obstetric clinicians or midwife surgeons Naomi Lewis and Hannah Gibson, who feature in the documentary and article, are now working as interns in two hospitals — CB Dunbar in Bong County and Redemption Hospital in Monrovia. Since the start of their training in October 2014, up until April 2016, Naomi and Hannah have performed 671 advanced obstetric procedures, including 424 Caesarean sections. There were no maternal deaths resulting from any of these procedures.
MCAI has received $100,000 of funding from WHO to scale up and roll out this training programme throughout Liberia and nine more trainee obstetric clinicians are currently being trained. The trainees are based at Redemption and CB Dunbar Hospitals and also CH Rennie Hospital in Margibi County. In the seven months from the start of their training in October 2015, the nine new trainees have performed a combined total of 417 procedures, including 281 Caesarean sections.

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Naomi Lewis and Hannah Gibson after completing their first Caesarean section

In collaboration with the Liberian Ministry of Health, MCAI is now planning a related project to train nurses in advanced neonatal care. And, in partnership with the Liberian Medical and Dental Council, MCAI will be involved in rolling out a medical ethics and professional standards course throughout the country.

Other work in Liberia includes continuing to provide essential medical equipment and supplies, such as anti-shock garments to help in the management of severe complications of pregnancy, and three ultrasound scanners.