Midwife link helps to deliver

By Ian Dipple Friday 06 December 2013 Updated: 06/12 11:21

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Buy photos » Marie Sapateh with the maternity team at the Alex. (s).

A MIDWIFE from a hospital in Africa has visited the maternity team at the Alex as part of a link-up between the two.

Marie Sapateh, a midwife from Lumley Government Hospital in Sierra Leone’s capital of Freetown, spent a week with staff at the Woodrow Drive site and community midwives, visiting pregnant women in their own homes - something unheard of in her home country because transport is so hard to arrange.

The maternity link was set-up by Alex midwife Helena White in 2011. Staff from the Alex have made two visits to the hospital in Sierra Leone, paid for by grants and their own fund-raising, to provide training and equipment to improve the outcomes for women and children in one of the poorest parts of the world.

Marie is a specialist epilepsy link midwife and was visiting the UK as part of a sponsorship deal with Medical Assistance Sierra Leone, which also involved a one month placement to learn about epilepsy treatment at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

She said: "I first met Helena and the midwives from the Alexandra two years ago in Sierra Leone. They helped us with training and even provided equipment - bringing each midwife a package that contain a blood pressure machine, a thermometer and a midwife’s stethoscope.

"Before that, we only had one of each for the whole unit. It made a big difference.

"I've learned a lot while I’ve been here, when I get back I’m going to have so much to tell everyone. I want us to put in place a weekly case notes conference, like midwives do here, it will help with communication."

The group are continuing to fund-raise to return to Sierra Leone in the future. Email theafricanmaternityhealthlink@hotmail.co.uk for more information.

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