Midwives Training in the Sahraouis Refugee Camps (Algeria)

June 1, 2008

This project in support of the training of mid-wives for the Sahraouis refugee camps of Tindouf, in the Western Algerian Sahara is a continuation of a previous project.

The Sahraouis women are giving birth in difficult conditions and the need for trained midwives is getting more acute as the number of children for each woman stays high and the number of refugees is not reduced. Currently there is a high level of risky pregnancies and the mortality rate for newborns is too high compared to the international standards defined by the WHO. There is a need among the refugee women for the modern techniques surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and newborn/foetal monitoring.

Enfants Refugies du Monde Pays de la Loire is a regional association, created in July 1994. ERM and PdL worked together in the development of nursing schools and mid-wife training. Since 2005, EDM PdL has been autonomous in the management of the jointly developed mid-wife training program.

The focus of this program is the improved reproductive healthcare of refugee women in the camps. Mid-wife training is essential to address the high birth-rates found in these refugee camps. The overall purposes of the project are: To train midwives for hospitals, dispensaries and within the community in the refugee camps. To increase the number of health professionals To improve the reproductive health, especially for women able to procreate. To reduce the dangers for the women and babies before, during and after childbirth. To improve the pedagogical skills of the teachers. To improve material conditions in the nursery and midwives school. Improve the school’s material conditions.


5 students, who were supposed to be graduating in October 2008 after a year’s training decided to attend another year of the programme . These 5 students, most of them former traditional matrons, expressed their interest in coming a week per month in order to complete and reinforce their theoretical knowledge. Every month, they spent 1 week at school and then 3 weeks as interns getting practical experience. In total they received 24 weeks of theoretical and practical teaching and 14 weeks of training courses practice at the hospital or at the dispensary. A continuous evaluationwas carried out by 2 theoretical tests per month for each subject and a follow-up with other tests covered all the interventions over the term in each subject area.

In the next year’s intake 6 students(which reduced to 5 due to 1 person giving up because of family issues) had an adapted teaching program created to solve some of the listed weaknesses in the syllabus and lasted for 2 years.These 6 new students started to study in October 2008 and finished in October 2011.They are all registered nurses except one and they speak, write and understand Spanish perfectly, so the standard was very high. They did one year in hospital as a trainee full time working alongside qualified midwives.

They worked like them and were always supervised by a professional. This method helped in their self-confidence, attention to the mothers and pregnant women. They also did a lot of deliveries, for them to feel able to manage that on their own if necessary by the end of the second year. The school teachers visited each trainee once a month and acted as their adviser in case of a special question or problem.