Reducing Maternal Mortality through Home Based Life Saving Skills Course

Home Based Life Saving Skills (HBLSS) is an educational program that trains birth attendants, community health workers, and community members in specific actions aimed at reducing maternal and neonatal mortality.  The program has been studied in several developing countries where it has been effectively disseminated and has been shown to increase actions to prevent hemorrhage at birth.  There remain many unanswered questions regarding the course and its potential impacts.  It is our hope that through implementation of HBLSS in rural Ghana we will help further reduce maternal mortality in the Akatsi District and also add to the growing body of research being carried out on HBLSS.

Maternal and child mortality remain scourges in much of the world.  This is true in Ghana where, as of 2010, maternal mortality was estimated at 350 per 100,000 live births.  Put differently, every time a woman labors, her chance of dying in childbirth is 1 in 68.  The number is significantly worse in rural areas where access to referral centers and skilled birth attendants is poor.

We plan to implement HBLSS in the rural Akatsi District in the 37 villages where we have previously trained community health workers through the Kekeli program.  For the first time, we are also planning to train skilled birth attendants in these communities.  The course will begin in mid-December when Steph and Jess travel to Ghana to begin laying the groundwork for the program.  They plan to visit communities, introduce the course to community and government leaders, and begin the recruitment process.  In June 2013, Olivia and Jason will teach the several week training course with the help of several Ghanaian instructors.  Additional team members will return to Ghana next December (2014) to follow-up the program and collect data to understand its impacts.

For more information on the HBLSS program, click here.  The course was created by the global division of the American College of Nurse Midwives.

Our partners in Ghana consistently request that we bring new volunteers to help with RHC’s programs, and we could use your help.  All that’s required is to purchase an airline ticket, take some time off work, and we’ll walk you through the rest!

If you would like to join us for any of these trips, please send us an email at

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