Essential Competencies, Model of Practice, Africa

Midwifery Services Framework (MSF) Implementation Pays off in Zambia

5 April 2023

ICM was pleased to celebrate alongside Zambian midwives and women this past month after Zambian Minister of Health, Sylvia T. Masebo, outlined a commitment to ensuring women have access to well-trained and well-regulated midwives within the country’s newly launched 2022-26 National Health Strategic (NHS) Plan. This achievement comes following years of collaboration between ICM and its member association the Midwives’ Association of Zambia (MAZ) in the implementation ICM’s Midwifery Services Framework.

The Zambian NHS Plan was launched in February at the Mulungushi Conference Center, and the major focus was revealed to be the attainment of localised, universal health coverage and affordable health services. Two major strategic directions were highlighted as part of the NHS plan, and addressing sky-high maternal and neonatal mortality rates were included in both. Sexual, Reproductive, Maternal, Neonatal, Child and Adolescent Health was named the number one priority under the plan’s first strategic direction. 

ICM and MAZ have been working together to conduct workshops and trainings that created capacity within Zambia through knowledge transfer and developing “MSF Champions,” whose role is to orient  provincial and national government about MSF priorities and support the officials in embedding them. Under the second strategic direction of the new NHS plan, the Zambian Ministry of Health has outlined commitment to giving the MSF champions a seat within the Ministry of Health’s technical working groups. The MSF Champions will leverage these newly appointed positions to advocate MSF priorities and ensure health system in Zambia is redesigned to accommodate women-centred approach which means pregnant women are attended by motivated midwives and responsive leadership at health facility, hospital, district, provincial, and national levels. 

“As we move into implementation phase of the MSF, ultimately establishing midwife-led care facilities, it is our hope that the project succeeds and is sustained in order to reduce maternal mortality by 52%,” said MSF Champion Victoria Bweupe. 

Midwife-led services are designed to fulfil the following guiding principles:  

  1. Promote the rights of all women to professional midwifery care; 
  2. Ensure the continuum of care from adolescence through to care of the early weeks of new-born life; 
  3. Ensure the continuum of care from home to tertiary hospital; 
  4. Be sustainable within the health system. 

The Midwifery Services Framework is a systemic approach that serves to develop and strengthen Sexual Reproductive Maternal Newborn and Child Health (SRMNH) services at a national level. It is a step-by-step, evidence-based approach, which supports a midwife-led model of care that provides effective, efficient, and desirable women-centred services. 

Learn more about the Midwifery Services Framework: MSF Film 2017