Three UK midwives go to Yei

Author(s): Jo Holland RM [a], Terri Kemp RM [a] and Nancy MacKeith RM [ab]

[a] Midwife at Royal Hampshire County Hospital

[b] Correspondence to Nancy MacKeith  [email protected]

The link between Winchester and Eastleigh Healthcare Trust and Yei Civil Hospital began with a visit in November 2010 to see how staff could work together.  We were greatly helped by John and Poppy Spens who had been living in Yei and helping to run the Martha primary care clinic.  After planning and preparation the second visit took place in October 2011.  We three midwives took part in this as the focus was on maternity care.  Other members of the group were a physician, a paediatrician and two technicians who mended hospital equipment and reported on facilities such as the water supply.  Yei Civil Hospital provided us with accommodation and food.  They looked after us very well.

On our arrival we found that there was a midwife from Kenya, Patronella, funded by UNFPA, who had been working on the maternity ward for 6 months and also that the situation with midwifery staff had improved since the previous visit.  Observations were being regularly undertaken on mothers and babies.  Mothers were being given regular IV antibiotics and analgesia after surgery and staff were undertaking dressings using aseptic techniques. Premature babies were being tube fed using mothers’ expressed breast milk.  We decided to concentrate our work on the student midwives and Sister Florence in charge of the midwifery course supported us in this.

We taught examination of the newborn, resuscitation, use of the partograph, abdominal palpation, sepsis, postpartum haemorrhage and anaemia to a mixture of 1st and 2nd year student midwives. Taught sessions in the classroom were followed by practical sessions on the maternity ward.  In addition we presented the college with the ResusciBaby teaching doll.  Doctors David Sheppard and Simon Struthers gave lectures and practical sessions to laboratory students, student nurses and student midwives.



Figure 1. Simon checks that a student midwife is getting air into the teaching doll (credit Nancy MacKeith)


At the time of our visit there was a delegation from the Ministry of Health providing training for midwives and maternity child health workers.  This presented us with the opportunity to meet with Polly Grace Osuo, the person in charge of midwifery education in Central Equatorial region and to explain our reason for being there.  She was pleased to receive the donation of a perineal repair teaching aid for the Diploma in Midwifery course in Juba. 

At the end of our stay a short exam and practical test were set for the student midwives and prizes of text books and Pinards foetal stethoscopes were given to all participants.


Figure 2. Prizes after the exam! (credit Peter Kemp)


We also went to outreach clinics in the villages and taught at the Martha clinic.

At our next visit in June we will focus on surgery, both general and obstetric. After our return the Basic Services Fund in Juba paid for improvements to the plumbing at the hospital and several wards got new sinks.

We very much enjoy our link to the new South Sudan!