Visit to Freetown Sierra Leone – Workshop, February 2016


This trip is planned as a feedback and evaluation follow up, completing objectives set at the end of the November 2015 workshops.

Whilst workshops are an effective teaching tool here in Sierra Leone, bridging the gap between theory and practice and making sure our teachings are being implemented in the clinics and hospitals is an essential means to reducing the maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity rate.

We must work alongside our fellow midwives here in Sierra Leone to observe practice and help educate in the clinical setting when necessary. We are hoping that healthcare professionals, who have attended our workshops, have cascaded their training to others in their unit. It is essential to visit the units in which the attendees work in order to establish a support network, analyse their working practices, supervise and to assess what needs they have. Many small units may not have vital equipment, space or staff to do midwifery to a basic standard. Many units have one midwife with healthcare assistants and students supporting them. These women do assist at deliveries and need to be taught a basic level of midwifery regarding obstetric emergencies and neonatal resuscitation.

Another area that requires emphasis ‘early referral’. This is referral from home or a peripheral health unit (PHU) before a problem becomes too severe. Community education is something that we are presently discussing and planning.We believe good understanding of the partogram will aid midwives in this.

Objectives of visit – February 18th-28th 2016

– Aim to visit 2 units a day in the Freetown area, visiting midwives who attended workshops in November. Performing follow up questionnaires to gather data for monitoring and evaluation.

– Visit Magburaka government hospital – liaise with MSF staff regarding current midwifery training programme and deliver teaching session on neonatal resuscitation, the partograph and other topics requested

– Neonatal resuscitation update sessions in all the units.

Travelling personnel

Oli Jeacock – NHS midwife
Helena White – NHS midwife
Robin Woolgar – Freelance photographer

To read the full report please click here to download a pdf.


Freetown, Sierra Leone, November 1st – 14th 2015

Background to visit

The original Link was made between the Alexandra Hospital, Redditch and Lumley Government Hospital (LGH), Freetown and existed to teach, update and support midwives within that unit. During our previous visits we have been able to supply basic equipment, deliver short in-house training and support midwives in their daily practice. After consultation with the midwives, matron and medical superintendent – Dr Virginia George – it was requested that more formal workshops were provided. This request was responded to and two days of workshops were provided in March 2014 where midwives from LGH, PCMH (Princess Christian Maternity Hospital) and Kroo Bay attended. The feedback was positive and further workshops were planned. Unfortunately West Africa then had the worst outbreak of the Ebola virus in living memory, taking the lives of over 11,000 people – including over 200 health workers in Sierra Leone alone. Lumley hospital lost a fine and well respected paediatrician – Dr O. Buck – a very kind and hardworking lady who was always so welcoming to our team. She will be greatly missed. We were unable to return to Freetown until November of this year.

The night before we flew to Sierra Leone it was announced that the maternity unit at the Alexandra Hospital would be closing on the 5th of November. Although not unexpected, the speed of the closure was a shock to us all. The Link was therefore unsustainable and the implications of this were discussed with the staff at Lumley. We reassured them that the Link with Sierra Leone will continue, but not specifically with Lumley, and we will still be providing educational, practical and professional support to as many midwives and maternity staff as we can.

The Link had now reached a stage where we could begin monitoring and evaluating the impact that we were having on the practice of the midwives attending the workshops. The initial evaluation of the workshops has been gathered and monitoring of changes in practice will be conducted on the next visit.

Visiting team

Liz Mc Sporran-Bates – hospital based midwife (retired) from Warwick
Olivia Jeacock – hospital based midwife from Swindon
Helena White – hospital based midwife from Redditch
(Pat Rogers – retired community midwife from Redditch
Katie Johnson – hospital based midwife from Kingston)

Funded by The African Maternity Health Link, Life for African Mothers, Iolanthe Midwifery Trust

Objectives for visit

  1. evaluate impact of Ebola crisis on existing maternity services
  2. ascertain what services are currently offered at LGH
  3. deliver two sets of two day workshops for Freetown based midwives
  4. scoping visit to Magburaka Government hospital
  5. begin monitoring and evaluation of Maternity Link

To read the full report please click here to download a pdf.