By Ian Dipple Friday 28 September 2012 Updated: 28/09 16:56
A GROUP of midwives at the Alexandra Hospital have established a link with a hospital in Sierra Leone in a bid to save lives in one of the poorest parts of the African continent.
The aim behind the African Maternity Link is to regularly send midwives to the Lumley Government Hospital in Freetown to deliver up-to-date teaching on topics such as obstetric emergencies and neonatal resuscitation, as well as send basic kit such as blood pressure machines and diagnostic equipment. It is also hoped to bring maternity staff from the hospital in Sierra Leone over to Redditch to further their training.
The idea for the link came from midwife Helena White after she attended a conference organised by the Tropical Health and Education Trust and the Royal College of Nursing.
The mother of three said: "We are world leaders in research based obstetric care and we feel it is our responsibility to share that knowledge and practical skills with our colleagues in developing countries as the difference it can make is staggering."
The Alex Angels - as they have been dubbed - made a brief scoping visit to the hospital earlier in the year backed by a grant from the Department for International Development, but now plan a second trip out for a longer period in February next year.
But they are in need of funding as at least three midwives will need to make each trip at a cost of between £1,200 and £1,500 each and grant funding is becoming more difficult to obtain.
"We were hoping to make another visit before the end of this year as we feel we should go a minimum of twice a year to build and maintain the relationship, but unfortunately we have been unable to find sponsorship or raise enough money ourselves to finance a trip this year so we are looking at going at the beginning of February next year," Mrs White added.
"We need to raise as much as we can as an ongoing project. It is an expensive idea but the benefits that can be achieved through updating skills and training can mean the difference between life and death for mothers and babies in one of the most deprived areas of Sub-Saharan Africa."
To raise funds for the project a disco and buffet is being held at the Rocklands Social Club in Headless Cross on Friday, October 12 at 7pm. Tickets cost £10 for adults and children are free. They are available in advance from Helena on 07719093341 or Annette on 07837771661 or can be bought on the door on the night.
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