In 2012, I arrived in Laos armed with 300 birth kits and a Clean Birth Kits training manual. My brand new partner Dr. Nong, the founder of the development non-profit ACD-Laos, and I worked together to tailor the training to the Lao context. I lived in her house for a few weeks and we grew to know and understand each other. That fall we trained 4 nurses.
The following summer, we trained another batch of nurses. Trust between CleanBirth.org and ACD-Laos strengthened. The numbers of trained nurses grew, the kit shipments too, and we brought nurse midwives from Yale to add an infant care protocol to the training.
The Yale team and I traveled to Laos 3 more times for training trips. At the end of the final training with Yale in 2015, Dr. Nong and her ACD staff were fully prepared to conduct the trainings themselves. This was my ultimate goal from the beginning.
Now these ACD trainers train nurses twice per year. They are the ones who are in monthly contact with the nurses and who visit the villages to conduct interviews. This evolution has exceeded my expectations. I credit the time both ACD and CleanBirth spent listening to each other as the secret to our success.