Key support for midwives handed over to health officials
26 Oct 2017
Since 2012, CARE has been working with health staff in Koh Kong province to ensure pregnant women receive the best possible care when delivering their babies. After five years, the organisation is happy to have handed over the support networks it has developed so these will be continued by the Department of Health in the province.
Most maternal and newborn health care, including delivery, is provided by midwives at health
centres while more complicated cases may require hospital care. Staff at health centres and hospitals must communicate regularly in order to have a functioning referral system. For the last five years, CARE has supported Midwifery Coordination Alliance Teams (MCATs), which bring together midwives in health centres and hospital staff.
MCAT meetings strengthen relationships and provide an opportunity for midwives to receive training on handling potential issues, such as helping newborn babies breathe and managing infection control. Senior health staff also provide follow up visits to midwives while on the job so they can benefit from extra coaching and advice.
Midwives have experienced the benefit of this: “MCAT meetings have helped me learn clinical skills, share my experiences with senior midwives and improve the relationship we have with the hospital. This has been very useful for our health centre. I hope to see this support continue,” says one midwife from Thma Sar health centre.
Health centres are seeing a positive impact on the health of mothers and babies. Neang Kok health centre chief says, “MCATs meeting have become a very useful platform for the midwives to improve their clinical knowledge and skills to support the women at the health centre. They are much better at identifying danger signs during complicated deliveries and have been able to refer patients to hospital early. This has saved many lives of both mothers and infants.”
As CARE takes a step back in Koh Kong province, the Provincial Department of Health has committed to continue MCAT meetings in these districts so the midwives in the province continue to have the opportunity to learn and share. The Acting Director of Smach Meanchey Operational District says, “We plan to include MCAT meetings in our Annual Operating Plan for 2018 and will identify funds to ensure the MCAT meetings continue next year. I would like to truly thank CARE and GSK for their support to develop these systems, which link with the National MCAT protocol that was endorsed by the Ministry of Health.”
CARE is confident that by taking these on, the Provincial Department of Health is taking a positive step to ensure that women in Koh Kong province can have safe, healthy deliveries.