Our 30 new students in Class 8 began their 12-month intensive course in advanced obstetrics at the end of August. We typically only have funding for 15-16 students a year, but these 30 nurses (selected from over 150 applicants) were so strong and ready that we accepted them all. Every Mother Counts generously agreed to support our increased class size (the program is free to our students).
Upon completion of the training program, which was developed to meet World Health Organization standards, students will become “skilled birth attendants” and ready for employment at hospitals, birth center, and mobile clinics throughout Haiti. Several of the students already have jobs waiting for them upon graduation, mostly in rural locations where their new skills are desperately needed.
Our new group kicked off their program with three days of orientation. During this time, they learned more about Midwives For Haiti, our history and our mission to increase access to skilled care in Haiti, and the journey they are embarking on. Students met their teachers and their fellow classmates and many fast friendships have already developed. Each student has a blue and white uniform for the classroom, pink scrubs for their hospital work, a book bag with two textbooks, writing materials, and a water bottle. They’ve also received fanny packs with fetoscopes, gestational wheels, measuring tapes, and blood pressure cuffs- the essential midwifery tools!
Classes have begun and due to the class size, we divided the group and will be rotating them between didactic and clinical teaching. It is a rigorous education program with high standards, and they will have to work very hard. At the core of our midwifery curriculum is not only the skills proven to save the lives of mothers and infants, but providing compassionate and respectful care.
This education to become skilled birth attendants will challenge and inspire each woman and man in this group and we’re confident that they will be forever changed by the experience. These 30 students will one day become the maternal and infant health heroes for their communities and our beloved Haiti. As our Founder and Executive Director, Nadene Brunk, said, “They are a truly beautiful group.”