The first academic training program for Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care (EmONC) was launched on February 11th 2013, and was celebrated by a high level of representation from the Ministry of Public Health and Population, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and Yamaan Foundation for Health and Social Development. This comes after the signing of the cutting edge contract between Yamaan Foundation and the Dutch Embassy in December 2012.
This agreement is to assist the Ministry with funding and expanding access to Basic and Comprehensive Emergency Obstetric and Neonatal Care training and services in Yemen which is implemented by the Yemeni Council for Medical Specializations in cooperation with Yamaan Foundation, and funded by the Dutch embassy in Yemen. The first set of training has begun in Sana’a, and will be expanded to Aden, Hadramout, Taiz, Hodeidah and Dhamar in the next phase.
This project follows advocacy efforts that have strived to address the lack of human resources and capacity that limit progress towards achieving improved maternal and infant health in Yemen.
This issue has become one of the highest priorities for the government in order to ensure that Yemen is able to create and sustain an enabling environment to make pregnancy safer for women. The Minister of Health, Dr. Ahmed Qasim Al-Ansi emphasized the importance of this medical training and qualifying medical staff in all maternal, delivery and neonatal health care facilities as well as mobilizing support from the health development partners. He stated that “this two-year emergency response training program will result in training eighty three medical staff specialized in maternal health, neonatal care, anesthesia and operation room medical care, and that the number of fully operational inclusive maternal and delivery centers will reach ninety one by end of 2015”. This will be a huge step in achieving 2015 Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5.
Dr. Athmar Ali Hussien of the Yemeni Medical Council also praised this training program by stating
that it targets one of the most vulnerable social groups in Yemen: mothers and newborns.
She underlined the importance of improving the health of mothers, and decreasing maternal morbidity and mortality as it is vital for social and economic development in Yemen.
The Dutch ambassador to Yemen, Dr. Jeroen Verheul eloquently recognized and thanked the trainees as “front line workers to improving maternal health in Yemen, and the ones on the ground
providing the quality services”. He went on to say that the Dutch Embassy and the Ministry of Health share the same objectives and believe that tackling the issue of high population growth is central to the current transitional period, and that the importance of decreasing the birth rate is essential for the future of Yemen. He commented further on the fact that 2015 is fast approaching and that this first launch of the training is an important part of achieving Millennium Development Goals 4 and 5, but that much more work needs to be done. Dr. Verheul underlined raising awareness of family planning, providing family planning counseling services, better distribution of commodities, provision of clinical services, and improving movement and transport as additional means of moving forward.
The Director of Yamaan Foundation, Dr Ashraf Badr was also present and highlighted the crucial role that Yamaan Foundation plays as the both the local administrator and implementing partner of the project as it is the respected and well-established leader in sexual and reproductive healthcare expertise in Yemen.
The World Health Organization states that the majority of maternal deaths are avoidable, as the health-care solutions to prevent or manage complications are well-known. This training will therefore increase service provider knowledge and capabilities of these life saving methods, as it is particularly important that all births are attended by skilled health professionals; timely management and treatment can make the difference between life and death.