Reestablishing a Midwifery-Led Maternity Ward in Malawi

Seed Global HealthBlog, Malawi, Midwifery

Across the globe, women continue to experience maltreatment at the hands of health professionals during childbirth. To address this in Malawi, Seed Global Health has partnered with Kamuzu College of Nursing (KCN) to reestablish the midwifery-led maternity ward that once existed at the local hospital, Queen Elizabeth Central Hospital (QECH). We spoke with Judith Chirwa, Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, QECH to learn about the significance of the ward and its potential impact on maternal and child health outcomes in the country. Please tell us a bit about yourself and your role at QECH I am an enthusiastic and passionate midwife with over 20 years’ experience providing maternal and neonatal health services as a bedside nurse midwife and in leadership roles both at district and tertiary facilities. I have a post-basic degree in midwifery. I work as the Chief Nursing … Read More

She Can Only See My Eyes: Birth During COVID-19

Julie Mann, Associate Director of MidwiferyBlog, Midwifery

She can only see my eyes. I walk into her room in my pale-yellow gown, sterile white gloves, blue hair cover, an extremely tight-fitting white N95 mask, goggles, and a full plastic face shield. In normal times, I casually walk into the room in my blue scrubs with my bright orange fleece over it to keep me warm. I smile, shake everyone’s hands, read the room, sit down on the edge of bed, gently lay a hand on the laboring mother, and take time to learn who they are. Today, however, I am unrecognizable to my patient as she breathes hard and moans in labor. I have to remind myself that covered as I am, she can only see my eyes. I try to put myself in her position. I remember delivering my three sons and think of how different … Read More

This is our time. This is our stage. Let’s use it!

Julie Anathan, Director of Nursing and MidwiferyBlog, Malawi, Midwifery, Nursing, Uganda

The President of the International Council of Nurses (ICN) was recently interviewed on National Public Radio (NPR) in celebration of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) declaration of 2020 as the International Year of the Nurse and the Midwife. This year coincides with Florence Nightingale’s 200th birthday and is a tribute to her vision, leadership, and legacy in public health; the professionalization of nursing; using data to advocate and improve patient outcomes; and advancing the professional role of women in society. During the NPR interview, there was discussion about the importance of nurses and midwives. The interviewer posed this question: When you look at this kind of WHO Declaration, it’s hard for me not to think that it’s kind of patronizing; if it was a valued role, why would it need to be recognized in this way? This is an important … Read More

Reflections on #WHA72

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, UHC

We traveled to the seventy-second World Health Assembly (#WHA72) last week against the background of a world that is facing global health crises across multiple fronts. In the Democratic Republic of Congo, the ongoing Ebola outbreak—the second largest in history—has resulted in over 1,200 deaths so far. Health workers and health centers have been repeatedly attacked, hindering efforts to provide treatment and care and contain the virus. Antimicrobial resistance is becoming a global problem, threatening treatment to common infectious diseases and risking patient care and health. It is the next emerging epidemic. There remain challenges in reaching the last mile with global vaccination campaigns. This is further compounded by the frustrating re-emergence of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles. There is a projected 18 million health worker shortfall. Achieving universal health coverage and Sustainable Development Goal 3 (SDG 3) by 2030 cannot … Read More

Update from #WHA72: Invest in Health Workers

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, UHC

The healthcare workforce, including doctors, nurses, midwives, and across the continuum to the household level, is pivotal to the success of every public health intervention. Across the globe, countries are facing a triple burden of disease: infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, noncommunicable diseases such as diabetes, and new and emerging threats such as antimicrobial resistance. To adequately address this burden of disease, ensure access to high-quality care, and attend to communities’ needs, we need to invest in health workforce education, employment, and retention. Last night, as part of the World Health Assembly, Seed Global Health co-sponsored a high-level event titled Invest in Health Workers in collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO), the Global Health Workforce Network, Last Mile Health, and Intrahealth International. Our collective goal was to emphasize the vital contribution of health workers to universal health coverage and … Read More

Update from #WHA72: Investing in Jobs for #HealthForAll

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing, UHC

Universal health coverage (UHC) has been at the center of discussions across sessions and side events at this year’s World Health Assembly (WHA). How do we ensure that all people and communities have access to and receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardships? It starts with investing in the health workforce—the backbone of strong health systems. Health workers are the missing link that will bridge the gaps in access to care and accelerate movement toward achieving universal health coverage. This afternoon, while at WHA, we attended a WHO-sponsored technical briefing on investing in jobs for health for all. We had the opportunity to present a variation of the below statement emphasizing the critical need to make the essential investment in health workers: Investing in the healthcare workforce, including health professionals and across the full continuum of service … Read More

Update from #WHA72: Highlights from the First 3 Days

Seed Global HealthBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

1. Primary health care (PHC) is a critical foundation for universal health coverage In his opening remarks to the World Health Assembly on Monday, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General, reminded all of us that there cannot be health for all without primary health care. “Primary health care is where the battle for human health is won and lost,” Dr. Tedros said. Among other things, he highlighted the importance of strong PHC in preventing, detecting, and treating noncommunicable diseases; protecting children; and fighting the global surge in vaccine-preventable diseases. He also emphasized its role in ensuring that outbreaks can be detected and stopped before they become epidemics. 2. Strengthening quality midwifery education to ensure health for all UNFPA, UNICEF, WHO and the International Confederation of Midwives launched Framework for Action: Strengthening Quality Midwifery Education for Universal Health Coverage 2030. It … Read More

Update from #WHA72: It’s Time to Be Impatient, to Achieve Health Equity

Dr. Vanessa KerryBlog, Medicine, Midwifery, Nursing

We live in an extraordinary time. With increasing speed, technology innovations have transformed our world and expanded our horizons in ways that were previously unimaginable. Growing up, the clicking of the typewriter keys and the distinctive ding at the end of each line formed the soundtrack to my homework sessions. Nowadays, I dictate notes and messages to my phone which are then sent into the world. Whereas my parents’ generation previously relied on the assistance of operators to make long distance phone calls, they can now easily communicate with their grandchildren, loved ones, and colleagues across continents through video chat, WhatsApp, and Skype. Innovation is happening rapidly and enhancing lives daily. Yet, in 2019, this innovation is still not transforming lives evenly. Entire communities and populations are being left behind from this digital age. They are being left behind. Period. … Read More

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