Advancing a Midwifery Model of Care to Enhance Maternal and Child Health Outcomes in Malawi

Seed Global HealthBlog, Featured, Malawi, Midwifery

While Malawi has made great strides in reducing both maternal and child mortality, there remains a great need to build the capacity of health workers to further accelerate improvements in outcomes of mothers, newborns, and children. To help with this, Seed Midwife Educator Linda Robinson collaborated with Ursula Kafulafula, a former dean at Kamuzu College of Nursing, University of Malawi, to advance a midwifery model of care in the country. We spoke to Linda to learn more about the project that she and Ursula are working on to create a sustainable midwifery-led maternity ward that would model the type of care women should get during childbirth. Please tell us a little bit about yourself—what inspired you to become a midwife? When I graduated from nursing school, I intended to focus on public health. I went to the Peace Corps right … Read More

Devex: Opinion: The economic case for reproductive rights

Dr. Vanessa KerryBlog, Featured, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, Uncategorized

Good health is critical to advancing economic opportunities for women and the societies in which they live. Decades of data have already shown the power of good health to positively transform economies — and what poor health does to undermine them. One extra year of life expectancy has been shown to raise gross domestic product per capita by about 4 percent. Nearly one-quarter of growth in low- and middle-income countries from 2001-2011 came out of improvements in health. There is, however, a unique case to be made for investing specifically in women’s health. Despite progress made and years of evidence-based advocacy, a startling fact remains: Nowhere in the world do women have full control over their health because of the limitations and barriers to effective, open sexual and reproductive health care. A new report by the United Nations Population Fund, “The … Read More

Thanking the World’s Health Workers

Dr. Vanessa KerryBlog, Featured, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

In some countries, like the United States, this time of year begins a season of celebration with family and friends, and reflection on the year that is coming to a close. While at first blush, the year may feel tumultuous with many challenges, there is a great deal for which we are grateful here at Seed Global Health. Thanks to the extraordinary efforts, commitment, and mission of the Seed team and our partners, we launched Sharing Knowledge, Saving Lives: Seed Global Health’s 5 Year Plan to Strengthen Health Systems. Central to that strategic plan is the immense contributions and power of the healthcare workforce to help solve many of the entrenched problems we face in health. As we initiate this season of gratitude, we want to acknowledge those healthcare workers on the frontlines who carry the flag for better health … Read More

Strengthening Pediatric Capacity to Improve Health Outcomes

Seed Global HealthArchives, Blog, Featured, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

When a child is sick in the U.S., a highly trained health professional is often there to help deliver care, support the parent, and help the whole family return to wellness. But in far too many places around the world, our youngest and most vulnerable lack equal access to quality pediatric care. We discussed the value of building pediatric health capacity with Dr. Kiran Mitha, Seed’s Director of Pediatric Programs, to understand how she and Seed will support physicians, nurses, and midwives in their effort to improve health outcomes for newborns, infants, and children. Seed Global Health recently announced a new five-year strategy to improve health and save lives. How do you see pediatrics as core to Seed’s mission to strengthen health systems? Seed’s five-year strategy includes maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) as one of 3 key areas of focus. … Read More

Empowering Girls for a Healthier World

Seed Global HealthArchives, Blog, Featured, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

Women represent 70% of the world’s health workforce. Whether we are talking about community health workers, surgeons, nurses and midwives, or informal caregivers, the contributions of women to healthier communities and countries is undeniable. With unique insight into the health needs of women and girls, female health workers are particularly well positioned to fill essential gaps in health care delivery, including gender-competent family planning services and breastfeeding as part of maternal-newborn care. Seed Global Health educates a rising generation of health professionals to strengthen access to quality care in order to improve health and save lives. And we know that with women comprising such a large part of the professional health workforce, we must pay special attention to the women who will serve as physicians, nurses, and midwives, as their advanced training and professional expertise will be critical to addressing … Read More

Celebrate Frontline Health Workers Who Support Breastfeeding Mothers

Seed Global HealthBlog, Featured, Midwifery, Nursing, Tanzania

It’s World Breastfeeding week—a time to recognize how breastfeeding benefits the health of mothers and babies everywhere and how breastfeeding can contribute toward improved nutrition, food security, and poverty reduction. It’s also a perfect time to celebrate frontline health workers who provide pregnant women and new moms with the support they need to breastfeed. Meet Ivony Kamala, a midwife in Tanzania. She received training from Seed Global Health educators who teach and train midwives, nurses, and doctors in sub-Saharan Africa. By teaching local health professionals, entire communities and countries can benefit from the “ripple effect” created when more skilled clinicians are better prepared to care for the population and serve as Educators themselves for and alongside their local peers. Ivony I Kamala BScMW is a graduate of University of Dodoma and a former student of Seed’s educators who teach and train … Read More

Inspiring the Next Generation of Healthcare Professionals

Daisy WinnerBlog, Midwifery, Nursing, Tanzania

During her time as a midwifery student at the University of Dodoma, Hilda Mavanza, BScMw, was taught by GHSP Educator Elisa Vandervort. Now Hilda is a teacher in her own right and through her work tutoring at a local nursing school, she is working to strengthen the Tanzania midwifery workforce and expand access to high quality health care. In honor of International Youth Day on August 12th, Seed spoke with Hilda who, at only 26 years old, is already shaping the future of her country through her role as a midwifery educator. The conversation has been edited for clarity and length. Why did you decide to enter the health workforce? I chose a career in healthcare primarily because my late mother, Regina, was a nurse. In our communities where we have fewer healthcare providers than needed, being a healthcare provider is a noble … Read More

A New Model for Maternity Wards Worldwide

Daisy WinnerBlog, Malawi, Midwifery

The day a woman gives birth can be one of the most dangerous days of her life. The statistics are unacceptable – particularly because they tell a tale of inequity. The lifetime risk of death from a pregnancy-related cause worldwide is 1 in 4,000 women, but in East Africa, it is 1 in11 women. That means that one in 11 women face the very real prospect of losing her life due to a pregnancy. Most causes of maternal deaths are preventable, however, and studies show mortality rates decrease dramatically when a woman is attended by a skilled provider in childbirth. The United Nations Population Fund leads a collaboration which produces the State of the World’s Midwifery report. Effective midwifery education programs are needed in order to train midwives to provide safe, respectful care and reduce maternal mortality. However, midwifery education … Read More

Midwives: “A Force for the Better”

Diana Garde, CNM, ARNP​Blog, Midwifery, Nursing, Uganda

People ask “why midwifery?” and “what drew you to this field?” and I often feel that my attempt to answer falls very short of explaining how it is that I ended up in Northern Uganda, teaching midwifery to eager, bright baccalaureate-level students. How does one adequately explain why we crave some thing, feel at peace in some special place or why we fall in love? How do you express the gut feeling that something is ‘right’? How do you explain the draw towards something that at once needs to be absorbed and simultaneously diffused outward in the world? My choice in career has been not so much a calculated decision, but rather an organic movement. Each day around the world, there are 360,000 heroic women who experience childbirth. Approximately 830 of those women die in the process. Not all are … Read More

Midwives: Drivers and Leaders in Addressing MNCH Gaps

Robyn Churchill, Senior Midwifery Advisor, Seed Global HealthBlog, Midwifery, Nursing

Midwives have existed even before formalized healthcare. We were the original healers, birth attendants, and confidantes. The role of the midwife has been improved upon and integrated into the healthcare sector, but historically, midwives have come from their communities, and in nearly every society on the planet, women go to midwives to birth their babies. I was teaching in Newark, NJ and on my way to graduate studies in education when I had a transformational experience with midwives. Just having had a baby with midwives in a birth center, I was supporting two of my students, providing advice to them as they navigated their ways through sub-par healthcare during their own pregnancies. I thought back to the quality and compassionate care I received from my midwives, and said to myself, “in another life, I would be a midwife.”’ It’s a … Read More