Learning to save lives in Uganda

From Global development | The Guardian Mon Nov 26 2012, 00:01:20

In Uganda, only 38% of midwives are fully qualified, leaving the majority ill-equipped to deal with complicated births. But a pioneering project is using online study to fill the training gap

Grace Aguti gives one final push. She leans back exhausted on the plastic mattress and listens for her baby's cry, but there is only silence. Her eyes flash with panic as she looks down and sees the umbilical cord wrapped tightly around her baby's neck, its tiny body slowly turning blue.

Using the last surgical gloves in stock, the midwife effortlessly clamps and cuts the cord to free the baby, rushing it to the examining table. After a few tense moments, high-pitched cries echo around the dimly lit labour room and a tearful Aguti lets out a cry of relief.

Giving birth in Uganda can be a matter of life and death. Luckily, 37-year-old Aguti was with a midwife who knew what to do when something went wrong. Many women and babies in Uganda are not so fortunate, and, for every 100,000 live births there, 430 mothers die.

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