Midwives Lead Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health

Frederic Taly

Senior Operation Specialist
Directors of Nursing Services participate in a panel discussion. (Photo: Megan Kearns/MSH)
Directors of Nursing Services participate in a panel discussion. (Photo: Megan Kearns/MSH)

Over the last three years, the USAID-funded Leadership, Management, and Governance (LMG) Project’s partners Management Sciences for Health and Amref Health Africa co-designed and piloted the LMG for Midwifery Managers Course to increase the availability of quality maternal, newborn, and child health (MNCH) services.

LMG for Midwifery Managers Course

This certificate course helps practicing midwives hone the essential leadership, management, and governance skills needed to address common workplace challenges that are often overlooked during pre-service training. The course consists of a five-day workshop using adult-learning exercises to introduce participants to advocacy, change management, coaching and mentoring, communication and teamwork, database management and decision-making, and strategic problem solving skills. Following the course, each midwife participant applies their new skills by implementing a six-month action plan to address a clinical workplace challenge.

Celebrating Midwife Leaders

Having trained two cohorts and 99 midwives since 2014, the LMG Project organized a celebration of the midwives’ accomplishments at the Amref International Training Center in Nairobi, Kenya, on October 27, 2016. I had the privilege to participate in this event by moderating a discussion between the Directors of Nursing Services (DNS) from countries including Kenya, Lesotho, Rwanda, and Uganda.

I found that the panelists’ insight into the country-level impact from the LMG for Midwifery Managers Course demonstrated how beneficial the course was for the midwives and how interested the directors were in scaling up. In particular, I remember the testimony from Nthabiseng Libaka, DNS of Lesotho, who said, “The LMG project has helped us learn more, dream more and be more…”

A poster presentation by midwife Victor Omido from the Kilungu Sub-County Hosputal. (Photo: Megan Kearns/MSH)
A poster presentation by midwife Victor Omido from the Kilungu Sub-County Hosputal. (Photo: Megan Kearns/MSH)

Leading Improvements in MNCH Services

Earlier in the day, six midwives presented posters explaining the challenges they faced in their workplaces, and how the skills they learned during the LMG for Midwifery Managers Course helped them overcome those challenges and work towards achieving a specific goal. The midwives' selected goals and associated desired measurable results reflected the top MNCH challenges they faced:

  • prevention of mother child transmission of HIV infection (Rwanda)
  • increasing the number of deliveries conducted by skilled birth attendants (Kenya)
  • the use of partograph in monitoring mothers in the active stage of labor (Uganda)
  • reducing unmet need of monthly essential drug supply (Zimbabwe)
  • increasing the number of facility deliveries (Lesotho)

The event ended with a visit to Pumwani Maternity Hospital, where George Nyadimo, one of the trained midwives, is the head of nursing. This visit helped event attendees see the impacts of the course firsthand as George presented the improvement project carried out in the hospital; he shared how he used the communication skills he learned during the course to increase facility deliveries by conducting community outreach about the benefit of delivering at a heath facility.

Available on LeaderNet

Although the LMG Project will end in September 2017, the LMG for Midwifery Managers Course materials will remain available on LeaderNet.org so that other individuals, training institutions, or organizations can use them to help midwives develop these essential leadership and management skills.