For Cambodia’s traditional birth attendants, reading about the latest birth technique in a research journal might not be an option. They don’t have access to the internet or a local library, and even if they did, the majority don’t read or write. So it’s hands on training or it’s nothing at all!
That’s why our program is learning based, not teaching based. And to help the hundreds of traditional birth attendants learn the all important lifesaving skills that they need in everyday life, the program offers an array of hands-on learning.
For example, this year’s participants will learn about the ‘mechanisms of birth’ using a state of the art birthing mannequin as well as artificial birthing pelvis’ and rubber dolls; both aids simulate the baby’s lie, presentation, what the baby has to do to be born and what midwives can do if a baby is obstructed.
Preeclampsia is a common cause of death in pregnant women. High blood pressure can lead to convulsions and loss of consciousness. So part of the program drills down on CPR techniques, with a bank of resuscitation mannequins providing another opportunity to get the practical ‘knowhow’ – free from stress.
In tandem with the powerful visual tools of Video, PowerPoint and Flipcharts ‘interactive learning’ is the mainstay of the training toolbox. For example, group work for developing emergency transport plans address one of the most deadly of all risks associated with birth – ‘delay’. In small groups, TBAs are given time to discuss the dangers of mothers being slow to seek help, slow to reach help and slow to receive help.
And finally, a showbag! – a picture book manual, foetal stethoscope, tape measure, gestation wheel and condoms for every participant.