Cambodia (Blog 5)  Collaboration and the count down

November 8, 2014

Just got back from a meet up with Clare Murphy who has just got back from Camboida. She was working in Kampot and Phnom Penn.  I can highly recommend her final report of her experiences. Final report

We met up as she lives fairly near and I wanted to get a first hand view of where I will be in January 2014. It was strange seeing this midwife who I had only seen on pictures sat opposite me in the coffee shop.  She was real, she had had a great experience. She did comment that since she had been back it all felt very surreal. Talking to me made her realise that she had not dreamt the experience. Funny how we need some reassurance from another person who shares the topic to validate us.   Families and friends can never really understand.

I was in awe at her ability to provide education to the student midwives working through a translator.  Working with the clinical teachers first then the students. What an opportunity to share our midwifery knowledge and skills. This was within some constraint however as apparently the Cambodian Midwives work to very strict guidelines.  To work there as a volunteer takes great sensitivity, care and political awareness, to support and encourage standards of care.

The Cambodian Midwives Association should be applauded for their efforts to ensure safe births across Cambodia. Many women delivered without trained birth attendants in the past. It makes me want to see what it is like in the more rural parts of Cambodia it is obvious there are good hospital facilities in the major towns and cities.

It will be interesting to share that we are encouraging women to give birth at home or local birth centres in the UK away from hospital settings. To share that we understand that we have maybe, been intervening in pregnancies unnecessarily in the past.  Clare and I laughed at olden days when on labour ward boards everyone had ARM(artificial rupture of membranes) and FSE(fetal scalp electrode) against their name.  Thank goodness we have learned that women can birth without us if given half a chance. This leaves us ready to help other mothers who do need intervention because of their or their baby,s problems.  I really hope that the Cambodian Midwives have the awareness to learn from our mistakes.

I will try and take photos of my current place of employment, to share our current guidelines on basic maternity care and emergencies. I want to be open to their questions of what we do when and help them compare that to their own practices. Western Medicine does not have all the answers. Local knowledge, local staff and local women will help them provide the best service for them.


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