Planning a birth skills training in a developing country has many challenges. One of those is determining which tools we should take. Midwives who work in developed countries have such a wide variety of tools available to them, but we will be limited by how much money we can spend on tools, and how many we can carry in our bags.
Another factor we need to consider is the longevity of the tool. Will they be able to use it for multiple births, and will they be able to replace it when it breaks or goes missing? This is such a foreign concept to Americans – we would just buy a new one. Unfortunately, the women we train probably won’t have access to the funds or a shop to replace ruined or stolen equipment. So we are being very careful to choose wisely what we bring.
One item we will be brining is wooden Pinard Horns. A Pinard Horn is an old-fashioned technology for listening to the baby’s heart rate. The horn shape amplifies the sound. I’ve never used one, but have been told it is a more gentle sound than what you hear from a dopler or fetoscope.
Wooden Pinard Horns have a few advantages for our trip. 1) They are small and lightweight. 2) A carpenter friend is making them to donate. 3) They can be used to listen to the heart of the baby or the mom, and to listen to the lungs –very multipurpose. 4) Because they will have the ones we bring, the carpenters in the churches where the women work can make more as needed. 5) Doesn’t need batteries, electricity or replacement parts. 6) Won’t be ruined by the heat or humidity or dry air (we are training women from several countries). So even though it isn’t as “good” as a stethoscope or a dopler, it is the perfect tool for this project.