Lifelong memories made in India on Go Abroad programme

Midwifery student Charlotte Cooper tells us about her experiences in India as part of a Go Abroad programme.

Myself and ten other second and third-year Midwifery students participated in the India Midwifery Elective Placement with The Fernandez Foundation. The Fernandez Foundation started in 1948 as a two-bed maternity clinic, and now has six locations with a total of 320 beds. There were 11 BCU Midwifery students who travelled to Hyderabad, India, to observe maternity services in Fernandez Hospitals as well as in public hospitals in India. 

In India, there is little awareness of midwives as qualified health professionals. The term ‘midwife’ is still used interchangeably with traditional birth attendants (dais), Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives (ANMs) or Registered Nurses and Registered Midwives (RNRMs). 

During our experience, we spent two days with the Fernandez Midwifery students, teaching them obstetric emergencies with manikins and props, and answering questions on midwifery in the UK. 

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We visited seven hospitals where we were able to observe care for women and babies across all midwifery wards. Although some practice was different from what we are used to seeing in the UK, we were able to see the positive impact The Fernandez Foundation was having across all hospitals as its students were placed in public hospitals too, implementing woman-centred care for all women. 

We praised the exercises in pregnancy, the support of upright birthing positions and perineal massage, which was taught to women after their antenatal classes. This is something we could implement within our antenatal services in the UK.

In our free time, we explored the local markets, travelled by tuk-tuks and had fun group days out, including bowling, go karting, a boat trip along the Hussain Sagar Lake, trips to the local shopping mall and the local theme park. This was as well as spending time after our placement and on weekends in the pool at the hotel!

We all had an amazing stay between two and four weeks, where our experiences of midwifery in India will stay with us for life, as well as the memories and friends made.

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