Since the beginning of the Traditional birth attendant program with Dr. Bob Skankey in 2012 we have worked toward the goal of sustainability. We had thought we had a trainer to take over the program in Achicha, a nurse who helped us for four years. But she decided to get married and move to France, our clinic director left and we were back to square one in that regard, except for some very competent matrones doing good work. Then we hired Rabi, who is stable at Tamesna, married to the director of Tamesna school and doing a wonderful job. Dr. Becky Jones and Pat Manzon took over the program in Niger in 2016 and we added another competent trainer in 2018 when Assalama started helping us in Iferouane. Then because of WHO recommendations, all of the needs of our matrones can now be purchased in Niger. All these elements together make it possible to attempt a locally managed training program. With so many requests coming in to add new communities we decided to give it a try with a local team.
In February we will attempt our first local training mission with all supplies purchased locally and all training personnel from local staff. This, if it works, will greatly reduce the cost of training each matrone. We will be able to verify their skills through testing on our annual missions, but will not need to repeat our trainings. If this works the program could be run remotely and eventually handed over completely. Part of the new training program will be to require that after the first medical materials are supplied, the matrones will purchase their own through our designated staff member from payment received from their patients.
Our annual missions cost $30,000 a quarter of which is for military security. A local mission will cost $3,000 to train 6 matrones. We think this is a great step toward sustainability. If you would like to help us get started–click here.