Liberia after Ebola: Turning midwives into surgeons

Liberian midwives are being trained as surgeons to assume the role of maternal health doctors killed by Ebola.

Before the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in Liberia, the country had a total of 50 doctors for its population of 4.3 million.

In comparison, there are 50 doctors available to every 100,000 people in the US.

This, taken together with Liberia’s extremely high maternal mortality rate, which sees three women dying every day, means the health system is buckling under the strain.  

Many deaths would be preventable with simple surgery and adequate equipment. A chronic lack of doctors, however, means that many maternity wards are overstretched and understaffed.

In this film, we meet the midwives being enrolled on ambitious advanced obstetrics and surgery courses to replace these “missing doctors”.

The process is called task-shifting and is run by the international charity Maternal Childhealth Advocacy International.

The Cure presenter Dr Tlaleng Mofokeng meets Dr Obed Dolo, who is helping transform midwives into surgeons.

READ MORE: The life-saving work of one Liberian midwife