A midwife teacher from Middlesex University, with a team from the Royal free Hospital, has travelled to Iraq to support a university in Kurdistan in setting up the country's first ever midwifery school.
A group, including Middlesex University director of midwifery courses Clare Maher and practitioners from the Royal Free Hospital, were invited by Hawler Medical University to help lay the foundations of the new school.
Middlesex University's Clare Maher said: "There are currently no midwifery training programmes in Iraq and women are cared for by lay midwives. Despite this there is an increasing trend towards women choosing to give birth in a hospital. We were there to support Hawler Medical Hospital to set up the school."
During the three-day visit, the team discussed midwifery training in the UK and importance of midwives and obstetricians working together. They gave lectures on various topics, including antenatal and postnatal care, foetal monitoring, emergency procedures and life support.
Middlesex University donated a teaching mannequin to the nursing teaching staff. The dummy is used by health professionals to practice carrying out particular manoeuvres during childbirth in emergency situations.
Maher added: "I'm delighted we had the opportunity to help the university in the planning of their midwifery school. The training we gave was very well received by the professionals and the university teaching staff. And despite a short visit, I like to think that we have helped to improve midwifery care in the region.
"The way things are currently the safety of mothers and babies is a priority for local staff - they are working really hard to improve the situation."
Clare has previous experience in Iraq carrying our humanitarian aid work in the late 1990s.