Home Health Bangladesh: Improving maternal health

Bangladesh: Improving maternal health

22 September 2016

A charity founded by students which aims to improve maternal health in resource-poor countries, has completed its first major overseas project.

Maa UK (Maternal Aid Association UK), set up by King’s medical students, spent two weeks working with birth attendants and healthcare workers and teaching them about safe practices around maternal healthcare in rural Bangladesh- a country blighted by high rates of miscarriages and deaths of mothers and infants.

Eight King’s medical students spent time helping inform local healthcare workers about maternal and antenatal care through health camps and workshops. They have been supported by consultant gynaecologist at King’s and Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospitals, Professor Janice Rymer and Dr Daghni Rajasingham, Consultant Obstetrician at Guy’s and St Thomas’.

Just one of the many activities the students took part in was offering basic health checks for mothers. Mothers could undergo a variety of tests, including having their blood pressure and blood glucose checked under the supervision of Bangladeshi doctors and healthcare professionals.

Another key part of the trip was visiting both rural and urban Bangladeshi hospitals to understand and appreciate how healthcare varies across different settings. The students had the chance to visit both private and government hospitals.

Members of MAA charity on their first overseas mission to Bangladesh.

Members of MAA charity on their first overseas mission to Bangladesh.

The team took with them five revolutionary CRADLE VSA devices to use on their trip.

The Microlife CRADLE VSA is the world’s first medical device to detect shock and high blood pressure in pregnant women and could cut maternal deaths in developing countries by up to 25%, saving more than 70,000 lives a year. It was developed by Professor Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at King’s and based at St. Thomas’ Hospital. The Division of Women’s Health at St Thomas’ Hospital also donated a box of baby clothes to give to families.

Abdul Rahyead, 3rd year medical student, described his thoughts after visiting Dhaka Medical College, one of the largest government hospitals in Bangladesh. He said: ‘As soon as we all arrived, I was stunned to see how many people were laying in the corridor waiting to be seen by a doctor, let alone those recovering with makeshifts drips and beds. Knowing that we were here to ultimately help mothers in a country where maternal and foetal mortality is very high gave me a sense of calm in the midst of chaos.’

MAA aims to reach out to other resource-poor settings across the developing world in future.

You can find out more and follow their progress on Facebook, Snapchat & Twitter – @MaaCharityUK.

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Featured image (C) iStock

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