Midwives training project in Monaco to help save the lives of mothers & babies


Strength through unity to make midwives solidarity project a reality

The Post-Conflict Development Association of Monaco (PCDAM), the AMREF Flying Doctors, the Princess Grace Hospital (CHPG) and Fight Aids Monaco (FAM) decided to join forces around a common project to offer further training to two midwives from the Ivory Coast.

The program was launched on May 27, 2018 with the arrival in Monaco of two midwives for an ongoing internship at the CHPG maternity service, with the main objective of exchanging mutual knowledge and experiences among childbirth specialists from both countries.

Maternal mortality is unacceptably high

According to the United Nations, maternal mortality is unacceptably high. About 830 women die from pregnancy- or childbirth-related complications around the world every day. It was estimated that in 2015, roughly 303 000 women died during and following pregnancy and childbirth. Almost all of these deaths occurred in low-resource settings, and most could have been prevented.

  • Every day, approximately 830 women die from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.
  • 99% of all maternal deaths occur in developing countries.
  • Maternal mortality is higher in women living in rural areas and among poorer communities.
  • Young adolescents face a higher risk of complications and death as a result of pregnancy than other women.
  • Skilled care before, during and after childbirth can save the lives of women and newborn babies.
  • Between 1990 and 2015, maternal mortality worldwide dropped by about 44%.
  • Between 2016 and 2030, as part of the Sustainable Development Goals, the target is to reduce the global maternal mortality ratio to less than 70 per 100 000 live births.

Caroline Aldrin, President of the Association Post-Conflict Development of Monaco, explains that that the majority of pregnant women and their babies would have a chance of survival thanks to the assistance of qualified midwives, so that their training becomes an important challenge that her association believes requires international solidarity. It is with this in mind that the Ivorian midwives project was born and thanks to the close collaboration of four organizations it is becoming a reality.

Well trained midwives help save lives

Today, a midwife trained following the latest standards is able to provide 87% of the essential care needed by women and their newborn babies. She is a pivotal force of a community, present all along the life of a woman, playing a key role in her sexual and reproductive health of adolescents, creating public awareness about family planning, HIV prevention for both mother and child. She accompanies the future mother through her pregnancy; childbirth and extended to neonatal care.

The AMREF Flying Doctors, first public health NGO in Africa and first non-for-profit organization for the training of healthcare personnel in the continent, is committed notably since 2011, through their international campaign “Stand Up for African Mothers”, sponsored by Graça Machel Mandela, to train 15,000 African midwives to contribute to reduce the 25% maternal and infantile mortality in sub-Saharan Africa. Riccardo Avarti, President of AMREF in Monaco expressed his satisfaction with the project saying: “…I rejoice of the possibility to share the diverse competences of our organizations to make this solidarity project even stronger.”

The Post-Conflict Development Association of Monaco (PCDAM), officially established in 2015 by Claudia Abate, under the High Patronage of HSH Prince Albert II, is the “young sister” of the Foundation for Post Conflict Development (FPCD), a non-governmental association based in New York and also founded by Claudia Abate in 2005.

Their mission is to build better opportunities for women and families in post conflict situations. The Monegasque association thus brings a reinforcing midwives training program to countries who suffered conflicts, with the objective to improve the fate of women by providing access to maternal health care, while developing the culture of maternal wellbeing and offering training to health care personnel.

(Photo: HSH Prince Albert and Claudia Abate of Post-Conflict Development Association in 2008 @Gaetan Luci Palace of Monaco)

The PCDAM and the AMREF, firmly convinced of the important of the midwives role in improving the health conditions of mother and child, and to reduce their mortality, in particular in countries with fragile health care infrastructure, to the image of post-conflict countries, have decided to unite forces in a common mission – training of midwives in developing countries to help the most vulnerable communities.

Thanks to the added support of the CHPG and Fight Aids Monaco, the project financed by PCDAM has become a reality.

The CHPG provides the reception facilities where the midwives from the Ivory Coast are able to train during one month, from May 27 through June 24, 2018, to solidify the knowledge acquired. They follow the CHPG midwives during their daily work to observe their care methods, care of mother and child or even during the treatment of specific pathologies, always sharing their own experience for a mutually beneficial and enriching interchange for both sides.

Fight Aids Monaco (FAM), created in 2004 by HSH Princess Stephanie, has fixed as their mission to inform, prevent and support patients living with HIV. FAM completes the experience of the two midwives, especially in what refers to the accompaniment of people facing AIDS, through discussion workshops and their own experience on the field.

Herve Aeschbach, FAM coordinator said: “It is the principle of partaking competences that is dear to us. We are really glad to participate in this program established by post conflict development foundation and share our specific experience tied to HIV with Ivorian midwives at the CHPG, that will surely be an opening on our respective cultures and an opportunity to rethink together our strategy and professional practices.”

This mutual will to put their knowledge and competences to the service of good health and the wellbeing of mothers and their babies, specially in developing countries, brought the four organisms to work together in a pilot project, with the objective of becoming sustainable in the years to come.

Meet the heroines of this story

The Ivory Coast post conflict experiences today an economic expansion but unfortunately without repercussion in the health care sector. Maternal mortality is still very high due to the lack of qualified personnel, the long distance from the health care available facilities or even the distrust from the local communities towards modern medicine.

Since 2016, AMREF supports INFAS – National Institute for the Training of Health providers in the Ivory Coast, the only recognized school to train health care provides in the country – through the initial preparation of midwives. It is through this institution that the two midwives selected are able to participate in the CHPG training.

Marcelline Assere is a 44-years-old midwife and teacher at INFA of Daloa in the Ivory Coast. She obtained her State midwife degree in 1999 when she was 18 years old. At present, Marcelline is back in school at INFAS to finish her first year of Master in Community Healthcare. In parallel, she continues to teach the initial midwives training and nursing to the students in that institution. In spite of her very busy job of midwife and teacher, Marcelline finds time to listen to music and read a good book.

Her choice to become a midwife came after an emotional shock after the death of a relative during childbirth, deciding to commit herself to acquire all the necessary knowledge and experience to assist women during pregnancy and childbirth, and help reduce both maternal and childhood mortality. An enthusiastic Marcelline said: “Through this training I wish to enrich my knowledge in obstetric and neonatal care. This experience is the opportunity to observe the Monegasque working method to then share it when back home. This internship gives me the chance to make new colleagues and friends!”

Caroline Obodji comes from Korhogo, the largest city in the north of Ivory Coast, where she is midwife and teacher at INFAS there. She is now 47 years old and has been a midwife for 22 years, specialized in homeopathy and healthcare management, as well as supervisor of the healthcare unit at her Medical Center. This teacher midwife is also consultant to several health NGO’s for the international midwives federation. Becoming a midwife was always her true vocation and through this profession she has the possibility to care for the welfare of mother and child, that gives her tremendous satisfaction. Caroline said: “I consider this internship opportunity in Monaco as the chance to share our mutual competences among Monegasque and Ivorian professionals and make the most of each other. It allows me to reinforce my capacities in healthcare service management through a different vision.”

Today’s Quote

“I am just one of many thousands of midwives, who are devoted to saving lives gently.” Robin Lim