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Traditional birth attendants

Quality of care for pregnant women and newborns — the WHO vision (8)

The recent WHO recommendations on optimizing health worker roles for maternal and newborn health (OptimizeMNH: include a number of recommendations for lay or community health workers (which was defined to encompass trained TBAs), including misoprostol administration to prevent PPH, continuous support for women during labour and a range of health promotion activities (see ).

Quality of care for pregnant women and newborns — the WHO vision (4) Traditional birth attendants (2)

Not everything need be or can be done at once. But some simple measures could make a substantial difference. For example "severe" postpartum bleeding is a major cause of maternal mortality in poor communities where up to 70% of women are visibly anemic, many of them severely so. Provision of oxytocics to TBAs, with adequate precautionary training to use only after the baby is delivered, could probably save a large number of women's lives...

Quality of care for pregnant women and newborns - the WHO vision (3) Traditional birth attendants

The [WHO] vision will take many decades to happen whilst thousands of pregnant women and babies (children) are dying avoidable and preventable deaths every hour across the third world.

Ebola in West Africa: resources from the National Library of Medicine (NLM)

***As the West Africa Ebola outbreak continues, here's a reminder of NLM resources that may be of value.***

All of these resources, and others, are listed on the guide "Ebola Outbreak 2014: Information Resources" at The guide is frequently updated and now has a section on "Situation Reports" and has added links to "Free Resources from Publishers."

Ebola in West Africa (130) The Lancet Ebola Resource Centre

On the inside front cover of this week's print issue of The Lancet (20 September), there is a full-page announcement about The Lancet Ebola Resource Centre.

'The Lancet wishes to assist health workers and researchers working under difficult and dangerous conditions to bring this outbreak to a close. In an effort to support the vital work being done, all related content from The Lancet is freely accessible on our online Ebola Resource Centre. Visit

Assessment of the risk of Ebola virus transmission from bodily fluids and fomites

Although Ebola virus (EBOV) is transmitted by unprotected physical contact with infected persons, few data exist on which specific bodily fluids are infected or on the risk of fomite transmission. Therefore, we tested various clinical specimens from 26 laboratory-confirmed cases of Ebola hemorrhagic fever, as well as environmental specimens collected from an isolation ward, for the presence of EBOV.

Ebola in West Africa: Helping people find the healthcare information they need

If you do a search on Google for Ebola health education materials, you get 9,340,000 results. I am reminded of the metaphor of trying to drink from a fire-hose, describing the increasing problem of not being able to find the information you need in an ocean of information that you don't need.

Can traditional birth attendants be trained to accurately identify septic infants, initiate antibiotics, and refer in a rural African setting?

Background: Neonatal sepsis is a major cause of neonatal mortality. In populations with limited access to health care, early identification of bacterial infections and initiation of antibiotics by community health workers (CHWs) could be lifesaving. It is unknown whether this strategy would be feasible using traditional birth attendants (TBAs), a cadre of CHWs who typically have limited training and educational backgrounds.


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