1000+ OBGYNs

The fight to save lives in Sub-Saharan Africa

Author | Lauren Crawford

Photo courtesy of Frank Anderson

With over 1 million newborn deaths and 300,000 maternal deaths reported in 2013, Sub-Saharan Africa has some of the highest birth-related mortality rates in the world. Many of these deaths are preventable, but limited access to comprehensive, high-quality training in obstetrics and gynecology prohibits women from receiving adequate care. An initiative from the University of Michigan is providing this much-needed training to eliminate preventable deaths altogether.

The 1000+ OBGYNs Project is a collaboration between the U-M Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Department of Learning Health Sciences and the Open.Michigan Initiative, an online learning resource created by U-M. Consisting of a network of American and African university-based OB-GYN departments, the project is poised to train more than 1,000 new OB-GYNs in the Sub-Saharan region over the next decade. 

Every country deserves robust, well-functioning obstetrics and gynecology departments that can train people and provide leadership. —Frank Anderson

"Every country deserves robust, well-functioning obstetrics and gynecology departments that can train people and provide leadership," says Frank Anderson, M.D., associate professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the program. 

The project, which has received funding through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Flora Family Foundation, the U-M African Institute and the World Bank, was created after a 2014 global meeting of obstetricians and gynecologists in Accra, Ghana. An a priori meeting establishing the collaborative process was also held in Rome in 2012. 

The African OB-GYN educational programs will be supported by a series of free "collections," consisting of lectures, videos, textbooks and curricula. Care providers can access information on the most prevalent issues in the region, as well as general obstetrics and gynecologic care, such as family planning and cancer screening. 

Materials are available online at 1000obgyns.org, and with the help of the Global Library of Women's Medicine, they have also been distributed to hundreds of OB-GYNs in Sub-Saharan Africa on USB drives. 

The project relies heavily on Michigan's model of international partnership that establishes not only the foundation for care, but also the capacity to create long-lasting infrastructure on the home front. 

Anderson is adamant that they will surpass their initial goal. "This could just as easily be the 10,000+ OBGYNs Project," he says. "What we're proposing can be replicated anywhere, and with any discipline."

More Articles About: International OBGYN Africa Education
Featured News & Stories three pharmacists smiling
Health Lab
An innovative pharmacy service for pain management
An innovative service at Michigan Medicine offers pain management support for patients and care teams
man in scrubs sitting with scrub cap with headset on in clinical setting
Health Lab
Medical students use virtual reality to improve diabetes
A physician invents a creative approach for medical students in diabetic care.
graphic drawing of colonoscopy scan with large intestine vials patient on bed doctor
Health Lab
Investment in free follow up colonoscopies will pay off
Free colonoscopies for people whose at-home stool tests (such as Cologuard and FIT) turn up signs of potential cancer are now covered by insurance, and a study shows this will save money.
Health Lab
How bedside musicians helped one family cope with tragedy
How the gifts of art and beside music and art programs helped one family cope with tragedy
pill bottle spilling yellow blue
Health Lab
Oral steroid usage increased across U.S., Taiwan and Denmark in past decade
Research from the University of Michigan finds that over the past decade, there has been a steady increase of oral steroids prescriptions not only in the United States, but in Taiwan and Denmark as well.
two scientists next to eachother smiling at camera white coats
Health Lab
Free online tool expands anatomical science to the world
The tool, which is free to use, includes photography, videography and virtual reality learning resources from anatomical donors, along with comprehensive lab manuals and interactive files with click-to-reveal testing capabilities.