I wanted to give everyone an update after the maternal mortality and postpartum hemorrhage blogs. About six months ago I was over at Alyssa’s house and we were discussing a course she was teaching called “Helping Babies Breathe.” It’s a pretty awesome way of distilling newborn resuscitation down into a few simple, easy steps that can have a profound impact on short term and long term survival for babies. A company called Laerdal Global developed the curriculum and sells newborn models (complete with lungs, pulsating umbilical cord, etc) at cost to developing countries with high neonatal mortality rates. They are called “NeoNatalies,” ha ha. She was essentially teaching me the course because unlike in the US, the delivering nurse or obstetrician is usually the person who does the newborn resuscitation, not the pediatrician (see previous post about the “Knock at the Door” and response times....).
As I was reviewing the materials, I noticed a line about other products from Laerdal, including something called “MamaNatalie.” Of course this caught my eye and I went online to learn more. This company has also developed a low cost model of the uterus and a curriculum entitled, “Helping Mothers Survive.” It’s essentially a curriculum for lay midwives and community health centers that don’t have physicians, but I figured I could adapt it for our purposes. So, thanks to some generous donations from you guys, I went ahead and purchased 2 MamaNatalies for our students.
I am currently in the middle of teaching a 40 hour Obstetrics course to our current 4th yr med students (that translates to their first clinical year). Every few weeks we’ve taken a break from lectures to do simulations. The class breaks up into 2 groups (we have an awesome intern here named Molly who is starting med school in the fall and has been helping me with these simulations) and take turns practicing skills like delivering a breech baby, managing a shoulder dystocia (stuck shoulders after normal delivery) and treating postpartum hemorrhage. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I think that of all the lifesaving interventions our students can learn, managing postpartum hemorrhage (and also, probably even more important, newborn resuscitation) are the most important, highest yield skills that will save the most lives. So I am super excited that with our MamaNatalies, the students aren’t just learning about this by reading a book or listening to a lecture. They can actually do hands on training, estimate blood loss, practice essential skills so that when the real thing comes, they’re ready for it.
Thanks to all of you who have contributed to this project! Hopefully in the future we can expand this training not only to med students, but nurses, nursing students, and midwives as well. There’s a lot of potential in this country...much change is needed, but we are already starting to see some fruits as well.