Top Reasons Midwifery Internships In Developing Countries Are Popular

Midwifery is an interesting course for those who have a heart for pregnant women, and for those who have a heart for helping women during the delivery process. While the concept is a global thing, the practice varies depending on the geographical location as well as the socio-economic status of those involved.
Why then, are developing countries becoming a first choice for midwifes seeking internship places?
Most developing countries are currently in that phase where growth in the population is the hallmark. Children are being born every minute, yet the limitation in staff and facilities is not commensurate with the growth spurt. This essentially translates to the few available staff having a lot of hands on experience, in both normal deliveries as well as with complicated deliveries. For example, a lady who presents in the active phase of labor at 8 cm with breech presentation in a developing country has two options. Either she labors normally or she goes for a caesarian section. By the time theater is ready to receive the patient she will probably be in second stage. In developing countries facilities are limited and you do not always have a theater at your disposal. The nearest facility might be hundreds of kilometers away, which necessitates smaller institutions to deal with cases which would otherwise end up in bigger hospitals.
The unique nature of the conditions in these countries gives the health workers no option but to learn how to deal with complicated things with the few resources available. While breech deliveries are not advocated for, they are pretty common in these countries. By doing internship in such an environment you are advantaged in many ways. Deliveries are way too many, which means you will have lots of deliveries to do. If you are lazy that is not good news. I assume we all want to have some experience when it comes to these things, and believe me, you will leave the country a very experienced and competent person. You will have hands on experience with normal labor and abnormal labor.
It does not mean that you will necessarily deal with all that comes your way. The truth is that you will gain some skills which will prove invaluable in the course of your career. By the end of it you will know with certainty what you can comfortably deal with and what is beyond you. You will be accorded an opportunity to learn the referral systems that operate in developing countries and how they differ from those that are in operation in first world countries. There are challenges to these referral systems, and the real life experiences you come across will only help to make you the very best in your field.
Culture has an important bearing in midwifery. The cultures of developing countries are very different from those of developed countries. For example, you will get to see why traditional birth attendants are so rampant. You will also understand why so many women labor at home as opposed to seeking help in a health facility. Beyond this, and probably more important than anything else, you will have a chance to intervene appropriately as you improve peoples’ understanding of reproductive health.
You will also get exposed to some unique cases. For example, female genital mutilation is still practiced in a number of developing countries. Delivery of a mother who has undergone this practice is quite different, and definitely more difficult.
After all is said and done, you fly back home equipped with knowledge and vital skills. You will be exuding confidence in situations where your colleagues have no idea what to do. You will be well versed with the practice of midwifery in developing countries, and who knows, you might get an employment opportunity once you are done with internship.
Elias lives and works in Kenya as a GP. Elias has been involved with healthcare for more than 20 years and is regularly writing articles for Work The World – a healthcare elective placements specialist organisation.