Maternal death is a tragedy which is all too familiar in much of the world. As part of the Safe Motherhood Initiative the World Health Organization is developing and producing a learning package designed specifically for midwives. Through a modular system of learning incorporating aspects of community, prevention, treatment and follow-up the package seeks to address the five main causes of maternal mortality.
In this paper the first pre-testing of the educational material in an African country is described. The extent of the evaluation is limited at this early stage but the initial analysis of the results is encouraging and have led to modifications of the original package. The evaluation has confirmed that a tool such as this package can be a valuable resource for midwife teachers attempting to improve the relevance of education for their midwifery students. The midwifery students whilst being ‘with woman’ in childbirth are also grappling with the realities of death in their everyday practice. The educational package has also reinforced the sense of urgency fundamental to completing this extensive project so that it can be made available to midwives throughout the developing world at the earliest opportunity.