Sixty-nine midwives successfully completed their 18-month midwifery training at the Makeni School of Midwifery—only the second midwifery school in the country of Sierra Leone—and now have the essential medical equipment and supplies required to provide high quality care in health center and hospitals throughout the country. Direct Relief Midwife Kits were presented to all the graduates of the Midwifery School by the Minister of Health and Sanitation, Mrs. Haja Zainab Hawa Banguratraini on August 31, 2012.
The midwives receiving the kits will be stationed in community health centers and hospitals throughout the country. Trained and equipped, the midwives will be able to tackle the devastatingly high maternal mortality rate in Sierra Leone, which remains one of the highest in the world. The midwives will work to ensure that more women receive skilled attendance during delivery—currently only 42 percent of deliveries are assisted by a skilled professional—one of the key interventions to reduce maternal death and injury.
During the ceremony, the Minister of Health and Sanitation congratulated the midwives on their graduation and on receiving the kits. In a great moment during the ceremony the Minister tried on one of the headlamps that are part of the kit causing much happiness and laughter to the midwives around her. The headlamps are integral in enabling the work of the midwives for night time deliveries as electricity is often not available in rural Sierra Leone, giving the midwives much needed light and mobility to practice their work.
The Ceremony concluded as the midwives sang their school song and a vote of thanks, indicating their happiness about their kits and their work ahead to help improve healthcare for mothers and children.