Business and Finance

Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Visits UK Maternity Unit

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A midwife  –  nominated for the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize – will visit one of the UK’s busiest maternity units on 5 December as part of a unique collaboration aimed at dramatically reducing maternal death rates in sub-Saharan Africa.


Esther Madudu isthe face of the Stand Up for African Mothers campaign – a major drive by AMREFAfrica’s leading health charity, to train an additional 15,000 African midwives by 2015.  A campaign supported by Global Patron Graca Machel Mandela.


In the first visit of its kind, Esther will meet her UK counterparts at The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapelto share their experiences and discuss howinnovations and advances around midwifery may help mothers in rural Uganda.


Samara Hammond, AMREF UK CEO, who will join Esther on the visit, said:  “Taking Esther to visit the Royal London maternity department is a way to bring together midwives from the global ‘North’ and ‘South’ to share their experiences, and compare and contrast their working environment and practices, training and skills.


“We see this as an opportunity for midwives to stand together, regardless of where they come from and where they work and speak as one for the wellbeing and survival of mothers in Africa.”

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Every year in Sub-Saharan Africa, around a million children are left without a mother because of  death in childbirth, although mortality rates have reduced by 41% in the last 20 years.


It is estimated that up to three-quarters of maternal deaths could be prevented and two-thirds of newborn babies’ lives could besaved by better careduring childbirth.


African midwives work hard, long hours often in extremely poor conditions for little or no pay.  The huge challenges they face on a daily basis prompted the decision by AMREF to nominate them as a group – with Esther their representative – for the Nobel Peace Prize 2015.


In rural Uganda where Esther works, many women have to give birth on the concrete floor of a busy health centre, often with no power and with minimal support from a doctor.


Esther explained: “This makes our work very difficult, particularly in the maternity ward. AMREF had given us head torches that we could work at night, we also use the light from our mobile phones to deliver the mothers. Sometimes the mothers come with candles, but it is not easy to do a delivery by candle-light.”


The most obvious difference between Esther’s daily working life and that of staff at The Royal London Hospitalare the differences in facilities as well as the approach to women giving birth.


The hospital, which moved into brand new facilities in April 2012,has a team with the skills and equipment to provide the highest level of expert care for the most difficult pregnancies from foetal medicine services to highly complex deliveries.


The overriding priority there is to create a partnership between a woman, her partner, the midwifery team and the medical staff, so that women can make informed choices and receive the best possible care.


Facilities include a birthing pool room with stunning views over London.  There are also a dozen mobile birthing pools for women who choose this method of giving birth.  There are 31 single ensuite rooms on the labour ward and a further 30 beds for women who need to stay longer in hospital – either antenatally or postnatally.


Esther’s symbolic nomination for the Nobel Peace Prize is intended to honour all African midwives for the important role they play in saving the lives of African mothers and their children. To help draw attention to their plight and the urgent need for more professionally trained and supported African midwives.



The African Medical and Research Foundation (AMREF) is an international African not-for-profit organisation headquartered in Nairobi.  Its vision is to provide lasting health change in Africa, providing communities with the knowledge, skills and means to maintain their good health and break the cycle of poor health and poverty. AMREF currently implements more than 140 programmes and projects through its offices in the Eastern, Horn, Western and Southern regions of Africa. In the last 55 years, AMREF has trained over 500,000 health workers in various fields.

Visit:  www.amrefuk.orgfor more information or if you would like to donate to the Stand Up For Africa Campaign .

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