Health, fitness and Food
The University of Manchester secures funding to improve childbirth in Uganda (Africa)
Manchester midwives are to lead a major research project to improve midwifery services for women and babies in six East African countries.
The University of Manchester team will buddy practising midwifes in Kenya, Malawi, Zambia, Uganda, Zimbabwe and Tanzania to identify ways to improve maternal and child health according to the particular priorities in each area.
The project is being funded with £626,780 from the Department for International Development (DFID) of the UK Government through the Health Partnership Scheme (HPS) Multi Country Partnership grant managed by THET, a specialist global health organisation.
Known as The Lugina Africa Midwives Research Network (LAMRN), in memory of midwife Professor Helen Lugina who was one of the forerunners in developing midwifery services in East Africa, the project will take two years to complete.
Professor Dame Tina Lavender, from the University’s School of Nursing, Midwifery and Social Work, will lead the study which involves four components:
- supporting senior midwifery partners to develop research leadership skills;
- working with 120 midwives to identify the main areas of maternal health in each country where research to aid improvements is needed with reference to the Millennium Development Goals – a major push by the United Nations to accelerate initiatives against poverty;
- providing workshops for 120 midwives to improve evidence-based practice skills;
- developing a buddy system with three midwives in each country to develop research projects identified as key for each area. This might include ways to reduce obstructed labour or postpartum haemorrhage.
Professor Dame Lavender said: “This project is bringing together some of the most dedicated midwives in sub-Saharan Africa to work collaboratively to improve care for women and babies. The goal is to develop a thriving, collaborative and sustainable research network of midwives with the capacity and skills to strengthen maternity services and improve care for women and babies.”
Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, said: “British nurses, midwives and medical teams are among the best in the world. The Health Partnership Scheme allows us to harness their expertise to help give developing countries the skills needed to improve the health of some of the world’s poorest people.”
“We believe our partnership with The University of Manchester will ensure the most dedicated medical volunteers can be sent to help those most in need.”
The project is the first to be undertaken by the University’s new Centre for Global Women’s Health which is the first of its kind in the UK and will be delivered as part of the Manchester Academic Health Science Centre’s (MAHSC) Global Health programme.
Professor Tony Redmond, who is Global Health Lead for MAHSC a partnership between the University and six NHS Trusts in Greater Manchester, said that as well as improving health for women in developing countries research undertaken by the Centre would have a further reach. “By ensuring safe child births we can establish a system where health care is available directly to women and their children with its associated impact on wider health and human rights.”
Dr Elizabeth Mason, Director of the Department of Maternal, Newborn, Child and Adolescent Health at the World Health Organisation, said: “There are many challenges as we work towards improving maternal health. Professor Dame Tina Lavender and her team have worked with the World Health Organisation in addressing some of these challenges. The new Centre for Global Women’s Health provides a platform for working collaboratively with partners across the world to reduce maternal mortality and morbidity.”
The University of Manchester is leading this contract in collaboration with six Africa based partners including the University of Malawi, University of Nairobi, Muhimbili University Tanzania, University of Zambia, University of Zimbabwe and the Ministry of Health in Uganda.
The University of Manchester team includes Dr Judith Williams, Dr Rebecca Smyth, Dr Carol Bedwell and Dr Linda Mcgowan.