India: Fernandez Foundation signs pact with UoH to train Birth Doulas
I first visited India in 2017 to do my first doula training there. While the traditional role of the is common in India (family supporting the expectant parents), the modern-day role of the doula is in its infancy. I was fortunate to have trained a woman named Priyanka at a Toronto training. Priyanka was spending time in Canada and learned of my training. She had been doing doula work in India for some time through her role as a hospital childbirth educator. She wanted a more formal training on the role of the doula and after attending my training invited me to join her in India to share the training with others.
After a grueling two days of travel I was so happy to finally arrive in Hyderabad. Because of my mistake calculating the transit time I arrived on my first day of training. With bleary eyes I excitedly started day 1 of training. It was a wonderful exchange of cultural practices and new learnings for all (especially me). I was able to train 10 women that year.
In the year to follow many people heard of the training and wanted me to return. My second trip would train 60 doulas over 3 locations. In one such training I was asked to have coffee with the hospitals chief of OB to chat about a hospital doula program I had created in Toronto. But upon arrival I discovered I was presenting to over 50 staff members across 4 sites (some people in-person and some video-conferenced-in). It was a wonderful opportunity to share the evidence of the role of labour support and how doulas can be part of the team.
I was excited to hear that following my visit the hospital collaborated with several doulas to offer the support to families. I’m excited to see now years later how much the program has grown including getting funding to train and hire doulas in a unique collaboration with University of Hyderabad. There is a Bizz Buzz article that goes more in-depth on this new partnership, here is an excerpt:
Dr Pramod Gaddam, said: “Fernandez Foundation strongly believes in and supports empowered, positive, and evidence-based birthing. We make the birthing journey and experience better for every mother, and this is reflected in our practice. Birth Doulas provide mothers with the emotional and mental support they need during and after birth. Through this collaboration, we seek to build a strong skilled workforce that can serve as the backbone of quality maternity care in India.”
I’ll be keeping an eye on how things evolve and curious to see what will come. You can read the full article here.
Founder – Doula School