MOMS Program

See MOMS Curriculum for Community Health Workers.  
Learn more about Sierra Leone, or  Views of Sierra Leone.  
Learn about  MOMS Partnerships.  
Learn about 
MOMS Plans.  

MOMS works with women, health care workers, and local leaders to reduce maternal and newborn mortality among those with few choices.  

Because MOMS hopes to reach people with the fewest resources, we choose to work in the poorest parts of the world.  We went to Sierra Leone when we were invited, as it was considered the poorest country on earth with the world’s worst maternal mortality rates.  We went to the poorest corner of the country.  

Centuries of colonialism, exploitation, poverty, and war, and the lack of education, infrastructure, and opportunity combine to effectively eliminate options for millions of women. 

What we do

Small teams (one to three people) travel to Sierra Leone twice each year for about two months each trip.  We work with our local trainers teaching birth attendants to make significant changes in their communities. (See the list of modules in the core curriculum here)

Each team works diligently to build rapport and credibility and to model behavior, especially the style of teaching and care provision.  The key in this is patient, careful explanations of the “whys” in both the classroom and the clinic.

MOMS teams have worked in 18 sites in four districts in the south and east of Sierra Leone, training about 750 people.  (See maps here)

Kailahun District

  • Pellie (twice)
  • Jokibu
  • Daru (twice)
  • Ngolahun (twice)
  • Gbalahun
  • Segbwema

Pujehun District

  • Jendema
  • Blama-Massaquoi
  • Massam

Bo District

  • Tikonko
  • Kassama
  • Gerihun
  • Gbaiima-Songa
  • Gondama

Kenema District

  • Sendumie
  • Gondorhun
  • Largo
  • Talia

Each of these classes draws from a catchment area of 5 to 15 more villages, so we have reached about 250 villages, with over 450,000 women and girls.

How we work

MOMS receives invitations from District Medical Teams to teach in areas of great need, usually two adjacent sites, then we build a partnership with the people at the sites.  The community leaders, clinic staff, birth attendants, and representatives of women’s groups meet with us several times to clarify roles and responsibilities.  They also choose who will attend the class.  All parties make a firm commitment to the partnership.  

A small team of fully qualified, skilled teachers travels to the training sites to hold the class, which lasts almost four weeks.  The team teaches how to do four things:

  • Serve as a bridge between the people of their community and the nearest clinic.
  • Teach women and girls, especially, about health.
  • Act as a change agent to improve life in the community.
  • Provide sound maternity care, under the guidance of the clinic staff.

After learners pass the rigorous exam and demonstrate their hands-on skills, they receive a government-authorized certificate as a MOMS Community Health Worker.

At the end of the training, the women at each site organize themselves into one or more groups.  MOMS staff helps with this organizing work which helps support the MOMS CHWs as they learn a new way of functioning in their communities.   

MOMS teams do not just parachute in, do their thing, then bug out.  
The relationship continues — a unique feature of MOMS model.  

  • MOMS Sierra Leonean staff visits the groups monthly during the dry season to monitor progress, answer questions, celebrate, and continue building the partnership.  
  • When a MOMS teaching team comes to teach the next group, the team visits previous groups to conduct continuing education and provide support.  
  • About every two-three years, while a MOMS team is in Sierra Leone, all the women gather for a Jamboree, a time of celebration and continuing education.  

Each group elects leaders who serve on MOMS Leadership Council.  This group meets regularly to set strategy, solve problems, and encourage each other.  

Thus, the birth attendants become Community Health Workers, gain an income, and support other women in need.  Their neighbors receive thoughtful, evidence-based maternity care and have a role model to guide them to better health.  They share their hope and pride with their community!

  © Midwives on Missions of Service  2023                                     PO Box 1656, Gualala, CA. 95445