Following the successful implementation of an emergency workers’ training programme by the Foundation for Professional Development (FPD), MSD for Mothers has awarded a second grant to South Africa, specifically to the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Pretoria, for the training of nurses in maternal care in 2019.

Through the new grant, the Faculty of Health Sciences at University of Pretoria will implement the CLEVER programme, which stands for:

Clinical care

Labour ward management

Eliminate barriers

Verify care

Emergency obstetric simulation training

Respectful care

The intervention will better equip nursing staff to deal with maternal distress and improve the quality of care in midwife-led obstetric units and district hospitals. CLEVER aims to reduce maternal deaths, as well as stillbirths and the death of new-borns in their first week of life, and to improve the overall experience of birthing care for mothers – all while using existing resources.

“The ‘Working CLEVER’ package was developed to re-organise the way in which obstetric care is provided at district level and to support and mentor midwives and other clinical staff to render high-quality, respectful obstetric care,” said Project Manager, Research Centre for Maternal, Foetal, New-born & Child Health Care Strategies, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Pretoria, Cathy Bezuidenhout.

The intervention will also be rolled out to other districts in the country, with the focus on empowering local clinicians.

“CLEVER focuses on delivering high-quality maternity care at primary care facilities in South Africa, and to create a positive and happy childbirth experience,” said Bezuidenhout.

“We are excited about this important and much-needed programme and the impact it can have on saving the lives of women and new-borns. No woman should die in childbirth,” continued Bezuidenhout.

MSD for Mothers has established a 10-year, $500 million global initiative to create a world where no woman dies giving life. In South Africa, MSD provided funding for the FPD, a non-governmental organisation, to implement an Obstetric Emergencies Training Programme to improve maternal and infant survival by raising the quality of emergency care for pregnant mothers and new born babies as they are transported by ambulance to health facilities. The programme is endorsed by the National Department of Health (NDoH) and focuses on five health districts: Capricorn (Limpopo), Amathole (Eastern Cape), and Nkangala, Ehlanzeni and Gert Sibande (Mpumalanga).

“The training of healthcare workers, specifically on the Essential Steps in Managing Obstetric Emergencies (ESMOE) helps to reduce maternal deaths specifically related to obstetric haemorrhage, pregnancy related infections and complications of hypertension. Research has shown that emergency drills, as conducted during ESMOE training, reduce maternal mortality in South Africa,” said Project Manager, FPD – MSD for Mothers, Sunet Jordaan.

“We anticipate that training and capacity building of EMS staff will enable them to better manage obstetric emergencies in transit and reduce the number of women dying from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth. The completed work has significant potential to have an immediate impact on maternal and perinatal deaths in South Africa and will directly contribute to the NDoH’s longer-term strategy to strengthen obstetric EMS systems,” concluded Jordaan.

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