Improving midwifery skills

A three-year partnership to ensure better care for high-risk pregnancies and deliveries in Algeria

  • 557 health workers will be trained in new interdisciplinary practices.
  • 100% of the patients will be screened for obstetric risks.
  • 80% of patients will have an examination in the 4th month of pregnancy.
  • Nearly 94,500 newborns will receive better care.
  • Less violence in maternity services.

At the end of the project, four pilot sites will have a service project and will implement it.

Algiers, March 24th, 2015 For the launch of the pilot project entitled "Improving midwifery skills in Algeria," the Algerian Federation of Disabled People (FAPH), the international NGO Santé Sud and its partner the Sanofi Espoir Foundation, held a press conference today to present the main lines of this new initiative focused on handling pregnancies in Algeria.

Although significant progress has been made over the last decade, nearly 600 women die each year during childbirth in this country out of 946,000 pregnancies per year.

In 2014, we recorded a maternal mortality rate of 60.3 per 100,000 live births (National Plan for the Accelerated Reduction of Maternal Mortality 2015-2019, Ministry of Health). The slow decline of this rate over the past decade suggests that Algeria was not fully able to reach the goal it set for 2015, as part of the Millennium Development Goals of 50 deaths per 100,000 live births.

Neonatal mortality stands at 12 per 1,000 live births (UNICEF 2014) and accounts for 60% of deaths of children under five. Each year, over 11,000 children die before their first birth month and tens of thousands begin life with a severe handicap. In many cases, particularly when due to obstetric and perinatal problems (prolonged fetal distress, brachial plexus, asphyxia of the newborn, and extreme prematurity), these deaths and serious complications could have been avoided.

This new project will last three years to allow time to measure the impacts. It forms part of the continuing partnership since 2008 between the three organizations that has led to an agreement to build a multidisciplinary early-care structure for children with disabling chronic conditions. This structure is due to be implemented within two years. This new initiative is aimed primarily at reducing the rates of mortality and maternal and neonatal morbidity. It will focus on improving the quality of the monitoring of pregnancies and deliveries in maternity homes, and on improving the care of newborns with disabling conditions in the neonatology service at four hospitals in the Algiers and Oran regions:

  • The University Hospital (CHU) of Benni Messous in Algiers
  • CHU Kouba, Algiers
  • The Durando Clinic, affiliated with the University Hospital of Bab El Oued in Algiers
  • The University Hospital Establishment (EHU) in Oran.

These four sites were chosen based on the strong involvement of the heads of department concerned to engage in a reform process aimed at introducing an interdisciplinary approach into their core practice for all health professionals in perinatal care.

This project will help upgrade the teaching of this interdisciplinary approach in the initial and continuing training of midwives, who are key players in the fight against maternal and neonatal mortality. It will institutionalize the multidisciplinary handling of pregnancy and childbirth in maternity and pediatric/neonatal wards in four hospitals in Algiers and Oran, introducing high quality services and projects whose effectiveness will be evaluated at the end of the project.

This new three-year project is a continuation of our commitment to Algeria, alongside our partner, Santé Sud, the Federation of Disabled People and of Health Professionals, especially midwives, to provide better care during high-risk pregnancies and deliveries, ... Improving practices, quality of care and teamwork are essential to avoiding the many preventable deaths and complications.

Xavier Darcos, President of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation

Since the end of the previous project, healthcare professionals have asked us to continue working with midwives, not just in terms of awareness raising but in actual training. This is now being carried out.

Dr Paul Bénos, obstetrician-gynecologist and president of Santé Sud

At the end of this project, 557 health personnel, spread over the four target sites (CHU Benni Messous and Kouba, Clinique Durando, Oran EHU) will be trained in these new practices. In all, over the three years of the project, nearly 94,500 newborns will have received better care from pregnancy through to childbirth, as well as more specialized care for those children with debilitating conditions.

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