Progress in Pakistan with Nigeria on the Horizon

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By: Faisal Siraj, Young Champion of Maternal Health

This blog post was contributed by Faisal Siraj, one of the fifteen Young Champions of Maternal Health chosen by Ashoka and the Maternal Health Task Force at EngenderHealth. He will be blogging about his experience every month, and you can learn more about him, the other Young Champions, and the program here.

My 4th month in the Young Champions Program was very busy. The New Year celebration, my birthday, and the visa process for Nigeria made it a little hectic for me but I enjoyed it. I am planning to finally physically join my work office in Nigeria on the 1st of March and have started my visa process. I have completed the 7th chapter of safe motherhood guidelines for training traditional birth attendants and health workers. I tried to gather material for safe childcare guidelines and for that propose I met the maternal and child health coordinator of my town. This meeting was very helpful. The 7th chapter is on the first stage of labour: the condition of fetus. Description of the chapter is as follows.

When you have completed this unit you should be able to:

  1. Monitor the condition of the fetus during labour
  2. Record the findings on the partogram
  3. Understand the significance of the findings
  4. Understand the causes and signs of fetal distress
  5. Interpret the significance of different fetal heart rate patterns and meconium stained liquor
  6. Manage any abnormalities which are detected

The next chapter, which I am currently working on, is the overall management of the first stage of labour and will be completed soon.

Following is the progress of the activities planned in the first quarter of the project.

Activities Planned for 1st Quarter

  1. Advocacy meetings with stake holders – Lagos State Agency for the Control of AIDS (LSACA), Association of traditional births attendant (TBA) Primary Health Centers and community leaders
  2. Training of volunteers (maternal health activist)
  3. Training of traditional birth attendants

Activities Implemented
Advocacy Visits
Advocacy meetings: this activity is implemented with the objective to increase public commitment to maternal health and awareness for HIV and TB prevention, prevention of mother to child transmission of HIV, family planning and prevention of other infections.

Training of Volunteers (Maternal Health Activists)
Date: November 25-26, 2010
Venue: WCH Conference Hall

Training Goal: To provide the volunteers with reproductive health updates and enable them provide quality maternal health information, non-prescriptive contraceptives and referrals to create a synergy between primary health centers and other agencies implementing programs on maternal health.

Facilitators: Eunan Enyia, Emeka Nwankwo, Lucy Attah, Dr. Faisal

Topics Discussed: Introduction to maternal health; Safe motherhood; Causes of maternal mortality; Cultural causes of maternal mortality; The impact of maternal mortality in our society

Target Location: The facilitators and participants identified and discussed about the location for the project activities which include the primary health centers, traditional birth attendants and private hospitals. There was an argument to include churches as part of project sites since it is discovered that some churches claim to have healed their HIV clients and they will restrict their clients to their own clinics without referring them to where they can obtain ARV drug or adequate information that will help them make informed decisions concerning their health, especially maternal health complications and sexually transmitted infections.

Counselling and Referral Activities: In this reporting period, young women living with HIV and AIDS came to WCH to seek out information concerning their health. Some were seeking information for family planning, prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and adherence information on TB/HIV drugs. They were engaged in counseling. Forty eight clients (38 women, 10 men) were counseled and appropriate referrals made to PMTCT clinics.

Challenges: The major challenge was that the training of the traditional birth attendants was rescheduled to take place in January. This is to allow time for people to go on holidays during Christmas period in December.

Second Quarter Activities: The following list of activities would be scheduled to take place in the next quarter (2nd quarter):

  1. Counseling and Referrals
  2. Training of traditional birth attendants
  3. Awareness / sensitization in communities
  4. Training of health workers (Community Health Extension Workers-CHEWS)