MOMS Curriculum

MOMS has prepared teachers of our curriculum for birth attendants, Helping Babies and Mothers Survive, and business courses like grant writing and business planning.

Model of baby and of uterus

MOMS uses low-tech inexpensive teaching aids.  They are very effective.  

The core curriculum for training Sierra Leonean health workers includes modules about health care.  Woven throughout every module are two more things:  How to train and how to implement change.

  • The role of the MOMS Community Health Worker
  • Staying healthy:  Sanitation and Preventing Infection
  • Staying healthy:  Nutrition and Hydration
  • Staying healthy:  Preventing Sexually Transmitted Diseases
  • Staying healthy:  Planning to Have Children
  • Human Bodies:  Overview of Anatomy and Physiology
  • Human Bodies:  Women’s Reproductive Anatomy and Physiology
  • Human Bodies:  Conception 
  • Human Bodies:  Signs and Symptoms of Pregnancy
  • Human Bodies:  Fetal Development
  • Prenatal Care:  Gaining a Woman’s History 
  • Prenatal Care:  Conducting a Prenatal Examination
  • Prenatal Care:  Supporting a Healthy Pregnancy
  • Labor and Birth:  Supporting Normal Labor and Delivery
  • Labor and Birth:  Providing Immediate Postpartum Care
  • Labor and Birth:  Preventing and Treating Postpartum Hemorrhage
  • Postpartum Care:  Examining a newborn
  • Postpartum Care:  Breastfeeding
  • Postpartum Care:  To Six Weeks
  • Organizing for Change:  Solving Problems

Some say illiterate women can’t learn this information.  We teach women who are uneducated, but they are not stupid.  When health workers understand underlying concepts, they make better decisions about providing care.

Our train-the-trainer program provides licensed healthcare workers with a rich understanding of relevant learning theories, contextual depth for the content, and a lot of practice using effective teaching methods.  Only after student teachers prove their skill do they receive a certificate and may teach as a full part of the team.

Chris Jitta with Plantain

MOMS President, Chris McManus, and MOMS Lead Trainer, Jitta Seisay,
teach about condoms using a plantain as a teaching aid!

MOMS has written a full, detailed set of lesson plans that clarify objectives, methods, visual aids, and scripts.  When the trainers follow the lesson plans, we all know that the training is correct and consistent.  We know that the course material and tests are valid and reliable.  

Fatmata demonstrating newborn

Fatmata Musa demonstrates examining the newborn.  After Fatmata learned to check women for infection after birth, she found a woman in her village with danger signs.  SO, Fatmata brought her to the clinic.  The clinic’s nurse says Fatmata saved the woman's life.  

MOMS teaches effectively.  We ask the learners to prepare lessons, skits, and songs for each module.  We have three goals in mind for these activities:  

  • To demonstrate they understand the material
  • To develop a tool for teaching their neighbors
  • To remind themselves of what they learned 

We use humor, stories, and role plays effectively.  We encourage them to try new skills.  We model talking about ideas and consultation.  We say, “I don’t know,” then research and return with answers.  None of this is revolutionary, although it is hard.

We schedule training five days a week for 3-1/2 weeks; we spend one day each week in the clinic practicing skills and applying concepts and facts to real cases.  One day is for the the final examination —done one learner at a time, through an interpreter when needed.  Then we have a celebration that includes the entire region.  

The primary references we use are published by the Hesperian Foundation.  These are...

  • A Book for Midwives
  • Helping Community Health Workers Learn

The maternal health content is also based on standard, English-language texts, including the following, among several others in specialized areas:

  • Mayes’ Midwifery, Henderson and Macdonald
  • Myles Textbook for Midwives, Fraser and Cooper
  • Varney’s Midwifery, Varney, Kriegs, and Gegor
  • William’s Obstertics
  • Obstetrics, Gabbe
  • Human Labor and Birth, Oxorn and Foote
  • Holistic Midwifery, Volumes I and II, Fry
  • Where Women Have No Doctor, Burns, Lovett, Maxwell, and Shapiro
  • Job’s Body, Juhan
  • The Female Pelvis: Anatomy & Exercises, Calais-Germain
  • Anatomy and Physiology in Health and Illness, Waugh and Grant
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