What does it take to save someone’s life?
This question came up a lot last week, as our first Medical Capacity Building course in Benin was all about protecting and saving the lives of mothers and babies through safer anesthesia. This course, SAFE Obstetric Anesthesia, focuses on obstetric anesthesia situations ranging from newborn resuscitation all the way to maternal trauma and obstetric emergencies.
Attending the course were 24 doctors and nurse-anesthetists, 6 midwives, and 8 “train the trainer” participants who helped co-teach the course.
Through a combination of lectures, discussions, scenarios and hands-on practice with mannequins, students learned about airway assessment and management, rapid sequence induction, extubation, the WHO Surgical Safety Checklist, general anesthesia, spinal anesthesia, neurological complications, hypotension, the physiology of pregnancy, critical care and resuscitation, sepsis, maternal CPR, neonatal resuscitation, haemorrhage, pre-eclampsia and eclampsia, and estimation of blood loss – just to name a few!
We were thrilled to have 7 outstanding teachers for the course. The teachers were supported by 4 fantastic translators who did a wonderful job translating complicated medical terms into French and matching the enthusiasm and energy of the teachers.
One of the teachers leading the course had this to say:
“Upon returning to the UK after teaching on various SAFE Obstetric Anaesthesia course (I have now done quite a few, 5 courses in 4 different countries). I have to confess that I often question whether it is really worth all the effort. Asking can we really make a lasting positive impact on the professional lives of the course delegates? Conducting these courses in French is especially difficult for those of us who do not speak French. However, this time I have arrived home on a real high. I have put the photo of our course faculty up on my office wall to inspire me and to help me keep believing in the vision behind these courses. I am confident that this course has been a resounding success”.
Our hope is that this course will have a powerful ripple effect as the students and train the trainers participants return to their different hospitals. Our hope and prayer is that the skills and knowledge they have learned will result in many saved lives and improved care for many, many moms and babies. The MCB team is thankful for such a successful start to the year, and we are looking forward to many more great courses!
-Abbey Watrous, Medical Capacity Building Project Manager