Strengthening midwifery education to save the lives of mothers and newborns
“Countries must continue to increase investments in the education of midwives and growing the midwifery workforce. It is the only way to ensure that there are enough qualified midwives to care for all women and newborns.” To put this phrase in reality ICM and Sanofi Espoir Foundation are embarking at implementing a project aimed at strengthening midwifery education in 22 French speaking African countries.
ICM team with members of the Ivory Coast Midwives Association
Speaking during the first introductory meeting in Ivory Coast ICM Chief Executive, Frances Ganges said, “the title of the project is Strengthening Midwifery Education in French Speaking African Countries. The implementation is scheduled to start in 2016-2018 in three countries – Ivory Coast, Madagascar and Comoros following a gap analysis conducted in these countries.”
SInce 2011 the gap analysis has been conducted in 56 countries out of which 22 are in French speaking African countries. This forms the basis for planning interventions to address the midwifery gaps at the country level. The results of the analysis on regulation, professional associaitons and education show that in most of the countries issues of midwifery education was seen as the weakest point.
ICM team with Ivory Coast Midwives Association members and UN Women staff
ICM and Sanofi Espoir Foundation team who were recently in Ivory Coast to introduce the project met with government officials, UN and several partners including: - the Executive Committee of Ivorian Midwifery Association, president of midwifery regulation, representative from the Ministry of Health; in particular, the Director of Nursing and Maternal Care and the Deputy Permanent Secretary (Directur de Cabinet adjoint) and Director of Abidjan Instituit National de Formulation de Agents de Santé (INFAS). The team also met with UN Women, EngenderHealth, Jhpiego and UNFPA; with the aim of forming productive partnership in midwifery and maternal health issues.
ICM Chief Executive Frances Ganges and Dr. Joseph Niangue, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Directur de Cabinet adjoint) in the Ministry of Health (centre) with members of the Ivory Coast Midwives Association
Dr. Joseph Niangue, Deputy Permanent Secretary (Directur de Cabinet adjoint) in the Ministry of Health assured the team full support in ensuring that the project is implemented and produce results as planned. “Our government value the work that is being done by the midwives in Ivory Coast. We fully support this project and we are committing to work with ICM, Sanofi Espoir Foundation, the Ivorian midwife association and all the stakeholders.”
ICM team with UNFPA representatives
In all the three countries, government and key stakeholders engagement will be a key focus. Other processes, but not limited to will include- creation of government led in-country project steering group, engagement of in country development partner and UN agencies, engagement and support of regional bodies, work with 2 midwifery schools and 4 clinical sites that support the education of midwives per country.
The purpose of this project is to build capacity of midwifery education in Competency Based Education (CBE). Moreover, in collaboration with existing stakeholders working in midwifery education, the project aims to strengthen whole education programs, which will include strengthening education institutions, clinical sites, faculty and curricula. This will lead to production of competent midwives in accordance with ICM standards to provide quality midwifery services to women and their families.
ICM Chief executive Frances Ganges with the secretary of the Ivory Coast Midwives Association
As a result the project will contribute in enhancing capacity of education programmes to prepare competent midwife providers (SRMNH workforce) and contribute to building capacity of regulatory system. Studies show that up to 16 fold return on investment for governments who invest in midwifery. It is therefore worth to invest in midwives (Global Health Workforce Alliance 2014).
ICM team with EngederHealth representatives and members of the Ivory Coast Midwives Association