CAM recently spoke with Jamie Robinson, Project Officer for CAM’s Global Program, regarding her work on the launch of the second phase of the Improved Service Delivery for Safe Motherhood project.

We sat down for a conversation with Jamie to discuss project details, the Tanzania context in which it will take place and the participation of Canadian midwives.

Lucy Mabada RM, Project Coordinator (right)
Lucy Mabada RM, Project Coordinator (right)

J: The Improved Service Delivery for Safe Motherhood Project: Phase 2 (or ISDSM2) aims to increase the skills and availability of midwives across six zones of rural Tanzania. The first goal of the project is to improve midwives’ abilities to handle emergencies through Midwifery Emergency Skills Training (MEST). Second, our partner association, the Tanza­nian Association of Midwives (TAMA) is excited to bring ICM’s Competency Based Education model, which has been suc­cessful elsewhere, to Tanzania. We are working sustainably to help midwifery educators stay on the cutting edge of mid­wifery pedagogy. In this phase, 200 midwives will receive MEST training. Our goal is to achieve 100% MEST coverage across the district’s primary health facilities.

We are excited for this extension of our Global Program’s flagship initiative “Improved Service Delivery for Safe Moth­erhood” which started in 2013. It was the first project to grow out of our twinning relationship with Tanzania. The Sanofi Espoir foundation, the funder, saw that it was a successful project and decided to fund this second phase of the project.

J: This project targets some of the more rural regions of Tanzania, especially those most in need. Tanzania is one of 10 countries which account for 61% of global maternal mortality, so there is a need to create a safer and more supported environment for mothers. Within Tanzania, the Lake and Western zone regions are those with the highest maternal mortality rates, which is why TAMA and CAM have chosen to work there.

The second piece of context is that we are doing this with­in the framework of everything both TAMA and CAM have learned from the first phase of this project. In the first phase, Tanzanian and Canadian midwives worked together to create the MEST training. This training was then delivered to over 300 midwives.

It is great to be building upon our past work. In the first phase, we felt like we were ‘inventing the wheel’ in terms of looking at other ESW and MEST training workshops and determining what would work in this specific context. Now that we are in the second phase of the project, having this first experience under our belt is definitely helping us roll out the new phase more smoothly.

Importantly, Tanzanian midwives are trained in the combined nurse/midwifery model. Midwifery is, therefore, a subsection of their curriculum and training. This is very different from the Canadian midwifery model which specifically focuses on the practice of midwifery. As a result, there is a need for midwifery training which exclusively focuses on maternal and neonatal emergencies, as opposed to the general skills of emergency nursing.

J: We are currently in the planning and recruitment phase of this project. In total, four Canadian midwives will travel to Tanzania for this project to deliver MEST training. These placements will begin in the summer of 2017 and carry through to 2018. In addition, we will also be supporting a Competency Based Education training. For that facet of the project, we are hop­ing to employ a midwife from the East African region with ICM certification in that field.

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