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Safe deliveries and healthier futures for women in Cambodia

Midwife Ans is volunteering in Cambodia Thomas Roos

Volunteer Ans Ohms with midwife students

Ans Ohms is a Dutch midwife and volunteer in Cambodia. She is supporting the development of midwife training across six hospitals. Thanks to these improvements, over 10,000 pregnant women have already benefited. Furthermore, she is assisting in the development of course material that will support the training of 120 midwives every year. The impact of her efforts is already felt and thanks to Ans, mothers here have a better chance of a safe delivery and a healthier future.

Hands on training

Upon arriving at Strung Treng Referral Hospital, Ans quickly identified several areas that would immediately enhance the training of student midwives. Specifically, providing better course material as well as instigating a more hands-on approach to learning.

“Students were far removed from daily practice. For example, during a delivery they were only allowed to watch. If there was no birth, they were hanging about.”

This shocked Ans and she quickly went about rectifying the situation by involving students in more practical elements of midwifery. 

“This way, they learn to diagnose a situation, to draw up a treatment plan, to do an internal examination, to track the labour process. And, if necessary, to refer a delivery to a hospital and to assess whether or not such a referral is safe.” 

This set of skills and knowledge is essential in contributing towards a safe delivery. Ans also points out that further to this the students must also learn to manage the deliveries themselves.

“If there is no time to refer a woman to the hospital, the midwives must be able to assist in the labour themselves” 

Volunteer Ans helping teach midwives news skills Thomas Roos

Volunteer Ans helping teach midwives new stitching techniques

Improving aftercare 

Ans has also been instrumental in improving techniques for aftercare. Perhaps most impactful of these is improved stitching practices. Previously, stitching was a painful procedure that most women rejected.

However, using techniques taught by Ans, midwives are able to provide a relatively painless intervention that dramatically improves quality of life. Mothers undertaking stitching no longer experience pain during walking or sex and are less likely to become incontinent when they're older.

Midwife Ans demonstrating stitching techniques whilst on placement in Camdodia

Sharing knowledge, saving lives

“Thanks to Ans' knowledge and experience women here have a better chance to a safe delivery”

Says Seng Sokhan, midwife and colleague of Ans.

“Ans shares her knowledge with more than forty preceptors [trainers] in this region. They, in turn, share their knowledge with local colleagues. This way, her knowledge spreads.”

Seng works alongside Ans at Stung Treng Referral Hospital and has seen a dramatic improvement in midwifery practice since Ans began her placement.

“At our hospital alone the assistance has improved for over 1200 births each year.”

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