Every day, 800 women die due to birth complications (WHO 2013). More than 80% of these deaths happen in the developing world and most are preventable. We can help change this situation. By improving the training and skills of midwives and birth attendants in poor countries, fewer women and babies will die during childbirth.

VSO midwife volunteers share their skills and help train midwives and health workers around the world. We urgently need experienced midwives to make motherhood safer for women in communities with some of the world’s highest maternal mortality rates.

Roles are generally longer term, ranging from one to two years, but we also have occasional short-term assignments for up to six months.

You’ll be a qualified midwife with at least two years’ experience (five years for short-term placements). Clinical and classroom teaching experience is desirable, as is experience of managing and mentoring others.

What you’ll be doing

As well as improving maternal healthcare and management, you’ll be training staff in all aspects of midwifery. Countries you could be working in include Ethiopia or Sierra Leone.

Be a part of a global movement to lower maternal mortality rates. With your help, we can improve the health of more mothers and babies around the world.

Example placement

Placement for: Midwife

Country: Sierra Leone

You'll be working at Tonkilili District Hospital to provide clinical instruction and on-the-job training to student midwifes, helping the next generation of midwifes to rebuild Sierra Leone’s maternity services.

What does the role involve?:

  • Acting as lead midwife in developing and improving the quality obstetric care for women and managing midwifery services
  • Training student midwives, and student nurses and midwifery technicians, and providing on the job CPD for local colleagues
  • Demonstrating, supervising and assessing midwifery procedures on the ward
  • Providing advice and support for complex cases according to your expertise, such as post-op care, high-risk pregnancies such as twin or breech presentation, or family planning, care of under-fives, or mentally ill patients.

Skills, qualifications and experience required

You’ll need to be a qualified and registered midwife with at least three years’ post-qualification experience. Experience of mentoring or training others (formally or informally) is essential. As with all VSO placements, you’ll need to be patient and flexible and have the ability to work creatively with limited resources. Above all, you’ll have the commitment to achieving the best possible care for the most disadvantaged Sierra Leonean women, teamed with the tenacity to cope with a challenging clinical environment with high mortality and morbidity rates.

And the rest...

Sierra Leone borders Liberia to the southeast, the Republic of Guinea to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the West. The country has some of the best beaches in the West Africa and you could visit Outamba-Kilimi National Park on a long weekend and spot diverse wildlife such as chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, buffalo, elephants and maybe even lions.

We’ll ask you to commit to 12-24 months to make a sustainable contribution to our development goals. In return, we’ll give you comprehensive financial, personal and professional support. We'll provide you with extensive training before your placement, and our financial package includes a local living allowance, return flights, accommodation, insurance and more. When you return to your home country, we'll help you to resettle and many of our returned volunteers stay involved with us long after their placement ends.

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