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10 March 2009
Winning the title Welsh Woman of the Year could have afforded Professor Judith Hall an opportunity to sit back and reflect on her achievements as founder of the educational charity, Mothers of Africa. Instead she got straight back to work, planning a trip to Liberia to sponsor two nursing students.
One of the students, Martha Yollain, has already been chosen while recruitment is ongoing for the second student. Martha was recruited from within a nursing school in Liberia and the charity is sponsoring her to undertake higher training in resuscitation and anaesthesia. With no other sources of funding available for training of this nature, this is a valuable opportunity.
Having returned from the 10 day visit, Professor Hall, Head of Anaesthetics and Intensive Care at the School of Medicine said: "It was a very inspiring trip and came about thanks, in part, to the Welsh Woman of the Year. Winning that award really helped to raise awareness of the charity’s work and brought in a lot of extra donations.
Martha Yollain, one of the Mothers of Africa-sponsored students, learning to intubate.
"This is excellent for us because the need for anaesthetists in Liberia is so huge that we are now planning to make three educational trips a year instead of two. In addition, the charity is considering supporting the creation of an acute care unit for seriously ill mothers or perhaps investing in motorbike ambulances to help get mothers into hospital more quickly."
Professor Hall has recently been involved in a number of events marking International Women’s Day (March 8), a celebration of the economic, political and social achievements of women.
In recognition of her academic achievements and charity work, Professor Hall was also invited to 10 Downing Street for an International Women’s Day reception with the Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Professor Judith Hall (third from left) with the Prime Minister and other invited guests at the International Women's Day reception
She was also keynote speaker at ‘Women Through The Ages: A Celebration’, a one-day event at Cardiff City Hall (9 March 2009) organised by the Wales Women’s National Coalition.
Mothers of Africa is an educational charity set up in response to maternal mortality figures in Sub-Saharan Africa. In Liberia, a country with 22 anaesthetists currently serving a population of three million, the chance of a woman dying during childbirth is one in 40 and the likelihood of death increases with every pregnancy with a lifetime risk of one in 16.
The charity now has an improved online presence following the launch of a new website: www.mothersofafrica.org. The website contains information on the charity, reports on educational trips to Africa, and details of upcoming fundraisers.
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