DOCTORS AND MIDWIVES TRAINED ON ECHOGRAPHY

By Sarjo Camara

The Ministry of Health and Social Welfare has benefited from a donation of equipment and training package for the use of these machines by doctors and midwives to uplift the difficulties that women encounter during pregnancy and delivery.

The training was held at the Serrekunda General Hospital. The package was funded by   Dr. Olga Mass and delegation from the Bahati Foundation in Spain.  The valuable equipment was donated to  Essau Major Health Centre.  The Director of Health Services Dr.Samba Ceesay said  this demonstrates the  commitment  and interest of the donors  in the provision of quality health  care to Gambians, especially women of reproductive age group.

He indicated that it is in line with the Vision and Mission of the health sector towards the attainment of MDGs 4 & 5.

He noted that quality has become a major focus within the health care system, especially in areas of obstetrics and gynaecology: “As this focus increases, the involvement of doctors and midwives in quality improvement activities is likely to expand in the coming years.

In  obstetrics and gynaecology, where radiography is no longer generally used, diagnostic ultrasound has provided an important platform  in assessing foetal viability and age, evaluating foetal development, as well as uterine and placental abnormalities.”

He stated that doctors and midwives “today have many extended roles. In addition to meeting the needs of patients and serving as part of the health care team, they also play a key role in meeting the vision of the Ministry of Health & Social Welfare. This allows them to contribute to quality improvement”.

Thus, the provision of routine ultrasound examination, especially in Essau Major Health Centre will add value to the quality of reproductive health care, especially in the detection of most gynaecological abnormalities.

The Director of Health Services underscored that the use of diagnostic ultrasound with proper training and experience could be a catalyst in eliminating unnecessary examinations and misdiagnosis.

He further stated that the provision of this vital equipment is timely and the need for adequate education and training cannot be overemphasized, especially in rural health institutions, where diagnostic ultrasound services are often not available at all or only at an inadequate level, gaining a more in-depth understanding of ultrasound scanning could provide midwives and doctors important insights about how the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare can optimize resources to improve the quality of reproductive health care.

Although access to quality reproductive health services has been enhanced significantly during  the  last decade, many pregnant women in rural areas still do not always seek appropriate care, especially ultrasound scanning partly due to unavailability of the services at the peripheral levels and/or distance and cost to  access this services at  urban health facilities.

Dr. Ceesay said as such, the greatest possibility of success comes from multifaceted interventions, including ultrasound scanning that addresses quality issues throughout the system and supported within a progressive policy environment.

He said because in maternity care high quality care involves,  proving a minimum  level of care to all pregnant women and their newborns and a high level of care to all those who need it, and achieving  high and   equitable   coverage  of   interventions   for reproductive   health   care  is  essential,  but   saving   lives  also depends crucially on the quality of care. Thus, this  capacity  building  session could  not  have come at  a better  time  than  now,  as the  Ministry  of  Health  continues  to improve the technical competence of midwives and doctors to enhance their individual performance.

He challenge  all  the  trainees  to  take  this  training  seriously and to embed quality care assurance in reproductive health issues which is essential to achieving health and survival goals for women, adolescents, newborns and children.

Dr. Abdou Jammeh Regional Director of Health Services, North Bank West thanked the Bahiti representatives who supported the training for the brilliant foresight. He added, “I also want to assure the donors that this equipment would be used for the intended purpose and count on your organization for further collaboration.”

He said these machines will compliment the efforts of the Health sector and government for improving the lives of women of reproductive age in Essau and the surrounding. He noted that this will boost the images of Essau Major Health Centre as referral is always a problem to Banjul in the event of ferry crossing.