From January to April every year, The Centre for Maternal and Newborn Health (CMNH) receives students from all around the world for the Diploma in Sexual and Reproductive Health in Low Resource Areas (DSRH) course. The course is designed to equip healthcare providers from high- and low-resource countries with knowledge and skills necessary to improve the provision of sexual and reproductive healthcare in their respective settings. Students learn how to find and generate evidence through rigorous scientific methods and use this evidence to advocate for change in healthcare provision. They also develop practical projects including aspects of monitoring and evaluation that aim to improve sexual and reproductive health that can be applied when they return to their own settings.
This year, the cohort was comprised of midwives, nurses, clinical officers and doctors from Sierra Leone, Malawi, Myanmar, Ghana and Nigeria. The multi-disciplinary, multi-national nature of the students is a strength of the course, with one participant stating that they learnt much from colleagues facing similar challenges and they have developed a new support network that would continue long after the course had finished.
The students had the opportunity to travel to the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecologists (RCOG) in London where they met the Vice President for Global Health and undertook a module from the Introduction to Essential Gynaecology Skills course on Gender-based violence. Global professional advisor, Joy Kemp, from the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) was also present on the day and gave a lecture on the RCM’s Global Health Work. The DSRH is validated by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RCOG) and The Royal College of Midwives (RCM).
We also took the opportunity to do some sightseeing in London! The students also visited Liverpool Women’s hospital where they were shown the facilities by Professor Andrew Weeks and also to the Brook Clinic.
Dr Jane McDougall, who has been the external examiner for the past four years, said goodbye to the group and stated that:
“Every year, the students have developed so much and the quality of their work is of a very high standard. Many of them are planning further academic studies after undertaking the DSRH.”
Two prizes were awarded on completion of the course; Thida Pyone was awarded the Helene Hayman prize for overall best academic performance while Aminata Mattia was nominated by her fellow students to receive the Colin Bullough prize as the most improved student during the course.
The course director Dr Helen Allott, Senior Technical Officer at CMNH, said “It has been a real privilege to work with such a hard working and gifted group of students throughout this course and we are looking forward to hearing how the students put their learning into practice as they contribute to the improvement of maternal, sexual and reproductive health provision when they return home.”
CMNH wishes all students the best in their future work and academic development. We hope to support the students remotely to implement the projects they developed during the DSRH course.