About PRIME IIPRIME II NewsPartnersPRIME ContactsUniversity of North Carolina at Chapel HillIntraHealthSearchIntrahnet
The PRIME II Legacy
Blended Learning
Non-Training Interventions
Primary Providers
Worldwide Programs
East & Southern Africa
Europe & Eurasia
Latin America & the Caribbean
Middle East & North Africa
West & Central Africa
Technical Leadership
HIV/AIDS Integration with Family Planning
Performance Improvement
Postabortion Care
Responsive Training & Learning
Reproductive Health
Adolescent RH
Female Genital Cutting
Maximizing Access & Quality
Preventing Postpartum Hemorrhage
Safe Motherhood
PRIME II Publications
PRIME Better Practices
PRIME Dispatches
PRIME Presentations and Articles
PRIME Technical Reports
PRIME Voices
Technical Leadership Series
Monitoring & Evaluation
Publications Catalog

Glasses for Midwives

At Work They Are My Second Eyes

“The eyeglasses have helped me to read my [self-paced learning] units without problems, especially at night. At work they are my second eyes... work goes on as normal unlike before. I am so happy because the glasses have improved my sight.”

A midwifery superintendent at Yendi Hospital in the Northern region of Ghana, Beatrice Billa is one of 50 health care workers who are seeing more clearly thanks to a recent collaboration between the PRIME II Project and Helen Keller International (HKI).

At a meeting just before the start-up of PRIME’s self-paced learning program in safe motherhood skills for Ghanaian midwives, the Regional Resource Teams responsible for selecting trainees noted that many of the midwives appeared to need glasses. Some of the midwives themselves had requested that new curriculum and training materials be made available in Reader’s Digest-style large-print versions to reduce eye strain.

The cause of the midwives’ poor eyesight was presbyopia, a common condition affecting people over 40, in which the eyes gradually lose the capacity to focus on objects up close. While some midwives had been able to seek care and purchase glasses, others could not afford to do so. Concerned that eye strain might decrease their motivation and ability to successfully follow the self-paced learning activities, PRIME’s midwifery advisor pledged to find a way to supply reading glasses to all of the participants in need.

Inspired by this pledge, another PRIME staff member contacted HKI, a division of Helen Keller Worldwide that directly addresses the causes of preventable blindness in more than 20 developing countries, and also provides rehabilitation services to the blind. HKI’s answer to PRIME’s request was a resounding yes: within a few weeks, a donation of 50 pairs of reading glasses had been dispatched to Ghana for distribution by the PRIME team to trainees who had new prescriptions for glasses or whose glasses needed replacing.

Like Beatrice Billa, many of the midwives are finding their improved vision beneficial on the job as well as in completing their learning assignments. “The spectacles have helped me in reading my units and also in carrying out my work, like when suturing episiotomy wounds and setting up drips at night when I normally would not see clearly,” says Lardi Moro, Senior Community Health Nurse-Midwife at the Bumbonayilli Health Centre in Northern region.

The collaboration with HKI to meet the midwives’ need for glasses reinforces PRIME II’s experience that non-training as well as training interventions are often required to solve performance problems or ensure that training is effective. Enabling the midwives to read without strain--and improving their daily lives and work in the process--enhances the chances of success for the self-paced learning program, which focuses on integrated safe motherhood services including life-saving skills, postabortion care and family planning. The program is a component of PRIME’s ongoing technical assistance to the Ghana Ministry of Health in an effort to establish quality safe motherhood services at the primary level.

The PRIME II Project works around the world to strengthen the performance of primary-care providers as they strive to improve family planning and reproductive health services in their communities.

PRIME Voices #13, New Eyeglasses for Ghana Midwives, 9/25/02.

Photo credits: Ghana Photos, Tamale, Northern Region; Silas Adams, One Flash Photo and Business Centre, Wa, Upper West Region

PRIME Voices Archive
Armenia: Expanding the Role of Nurses and Midwives (1/2003)
Armenia: Improving Providers' Response to Violence against Women (6/2004)
Benin and Mali: Preventing Postpartum Hemorrhage (8/2003)
Dominican Republic: Community Mapping in Bateyes (12/2001)
Dominican Republic: Involving Communities in Quality Services (11/2002)
El Salvador: Community Health Promoters Provide Family Planning (10/2001)
El Salvador: Young Mothers’ Clubs Promote Reproductive Health (7/2001)
Ethiopia: Strengthening Systems and Services to Prevent Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV (5/2004)
Ghana: Self-Directed Learning Strengthens Bonds Between Midwives and Adolescents (11/2001)
Honduras: Peers Learn from Peers: An Alternative Approach to Supervision (4/2003)
India: Community Partnerships for Safe Motherhood (8/2001)
India: Harnessing the Profit Motive (3/2003)
India: Involving Men in Partnerships for Safe Motherhood (6/2003)
India: Supporting and Training the Village Dais (2/2002)
India: Supportive Supervision for Auxiliary Nurse-Midwives (6/2001)
Kenya: Expanding Postabortion Care (8/2001)
Kenya: Linking Family Planning with Postabortion Care (8/2002)
Kenya: Scaling-Up Postabortion Care Services (1/2004)
Kyrgyzstan: Increasing the Use of Postabortion Family Planning (11/2003)
Kyrgyzstan: Motivating Providers by Posting Performance Data (4/2004)
Mali: Advocacy to End Female Genital Cutting (10/2003)
Nicaragua: Mobilizing Communities for Obstetric and Neonatal Emergencies (5/2003)
Paraguay: Client Feedback Helps Providers Improve Services (2/2004)
Philippines: Integrating Family Planning with HIV Prevention for High-Risk Youth (12/2003)
Rwanda: Keeping Newborns HIV Free (6/2002)
Rwanda: Mutuelles Increase Access to Improved Services (12/2002)
Senegal: Breakthrough Conference on Postabortion Care in Francophone Africa (4/2002)
Senegal: Building a Model for Community-Level Postabortion Care (7/2003)
Senegal: Supportive Supervision for Community-Based Health Workers (3/2004)
Uganda: Establishing Adolescent-Friendly Services (5/2001)