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Sending the Gift of life on Mother's Day

Posted: 31 March 2019

Picture of 8 trust staff standing outside the main block at Wartford hospital

Two midwives from West Hertfordshire Hospitals NHS Trust flew to Liberia this Mother’s Day to share the gift of life with African women.

Corina Wilson, Hayley McGrath and a third midwife from Great Western Hospital in Swindon, are using their annual leave to share lifesaving clinical skills with local midwives, through the charity Life for African Mothers.

The maternal death rate in Sub Saharan Africa is the highest in the world and the lifetime risk of dying in childbirth in Liberia is one in 23. As well as skills, the charity sends essential drugs to prevent and treat excessive bleeding following the birth of a baby (postpartum haemorrhage) which is the main cause of death.

The trip is as much an opportunity to learn, as to give back. Corina said: “Ebola has considerably reduced the numbers of healthcare workers which means that local midwives have really had to up their game and learn how to deal with complicated deliveries such as breech birth or twins.”

The fortnight in Liberia, spent in the capital Monrovia, will also provide some perspective for Corina: “Women have to bring everything they need to hospital such as sheets and blankets. A relative has to get drugs from the pharmacy; they give birth in rooms without privacy and without access to equipment. And then they have to pay for it. It will open our eyes to how privileged we are to have the NHS and how much we can give back.”

Hayley, a community midwife at Hemel Hempstead Hospital, said: “I’m going, not just to celebrate my 50th birthday but to push myself out of my comfort zone and to give back too. My family and I have received such great care when we’ve needed it that it makes me grateful to live in a country where we have a national health service.”

The trust’s head of maternity Colette Mannion said: “I’m really impressed and so proud of Corina and Hayley for helping others in their own time when they could be with their own families. Let’s hope this is the first of many trips by our amazing midwives with Life for African Mothers.”

Hayley and Corina are funding their own travel to Liberia. Please help them to help the charity by contributing to their GoFundMe page.