Six Rotarian doctors are heading to North West India in November to help reduce maternal mortality in the region. Maternal mortality is recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) as a global health issue killing around 289,000 women a year and leaving a further 10 million ill or disabled as a result of pregnancy and childbirth. Over three million babies die within the first week of life and a further three million are still born.
With an estimated 136,000 deaths a year, India has the highest maternal mortality in the world, with most deaths caused by a lack of basic emergency care and skilled birth attendants.
Rotary International in partnership with the Government of India National Rural Health Mission has set up an innovative programme called CALMED (Collaborative Action in Lowering Maternal Encountered Deaths). The initiative aims to reduce maternal and new born mortality by increasing training in the emergency care of pregnant women and new born babies particularly in rural and remote areas.
The CALMED project is the brainchild of Medical Director and Rotarian Dr Himansu Basu, a Consultant Gynaecologist at the Oakfield Clinic in Kent. Dr Basu commented: “Ninety nine per cent of maternal mortality cases occur in developing countries and most commonly because of medical problems and organisational failures. Yet most deaths are preventable through hands on skills training and raising awareness.”
Dr Basu and his team of doctors will be training up to 25 local master trainers from six rural areas at the Adani Institute Medical College in Bhurj. The master trainers will then use these skills to train local doctors and midwives through a process of fast track knowledge and skills transfer, leading to capacity development and sustainability in creating a large cohort of trained professionals.
The CALMED Project is supported by the International Fellowship of Rotarian Doctors and the Rotarian Action Group on Population Development. The project is funded by 85 Rotary clubs in the South East of England in partnership with Rotary clubs in India.