Primary healthcare facilities in Zambia play a vital role in providing basic emergency obstetric and newborn care and ensuring safe referral to more specialist care. However, these facilities are drastically under-resourced, with shortages in skilled staff, medical equipment, and supplies. This often results in preventable and unnecessary deaths of mothers and babies. In the Copperbelt province, the main causes of death for women in childbirth are excessive bleeding, high blood pressure and sepsis. Their newborns are dying from complications due to prematurity, asphyxia (obstruction to breathing passageways), and sepsis. These deaths can be prevented if women and babies access high quality care quickly.
Together with partners, we will develop and deliver a tailored maternal and neonatal training package for nurses, midwives, and clinical officers at primary healthcare facilities. These health workers will be trained to identify problems, stabilise patients, and refer in a timely manner any complications they cannot handle. They will also be trained to communicate rapidly with the tertiary hospitals to ensure that the receiving facilities are prepared for incoming patients. The training will also have a focus on developing leadership skills, with a view to improving communication, multidisciplinary teamwork, and clinical decision making.