Hyderabad: Fernandez Foundation and the University of Hyderabad (UoH) signed a three-year MoU for undertaking academic exchange, research, and translational research initiatives. The initial education and training initiative approved by the statutory body of the university is for training 'birth doulas'. Any woman who has cleared class 12thcan join the course to become a trained professional who offers continuous physical, emotional, and informational support to the pregnant woman and her birth companion during labour, childbirth, and the immediate postpartum period.

Dr Evita Fernandez, said: "I am delighted to launch this training program with the University of Hyderabad. Given the immense burden on the medical fraternity, the Birth Doula course will be instrumental in improving the quality of services offered in the country."

Prof BJ Rao, said: "This is a landmark and a unique collaboration in a discipline which is novel and much-needed for expectant mothers in India. I hope that this will pave the way for an initiative that will improve mother and childcare in India and provide a model for low and middle-income countries."

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."

A Birth Doula will offer physical comfort through techniques such as touch, massage, and assistance with breathing. The training programme aims to broaden the horizons of nursing and midwifery education in India.The Birth Doula training course is offered online through the Centre for Digital Training and Learning Resources platform of the University. It has a mandatory offline component with hands-on labour support at Fernandez Hospital. It is a six-month course divided into three parts and can be completed within two years of enrolment. Fernandez Foundation and the University of Hyderabad will further collaborate on research, training, and educational programmes which are cemented through this formal relationship.Fernandez Foundation works closely with the Government of India, the Government of Telangana and UNICEF to train midwives in public hospitals.

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