Continued funding for impactful training for professionals in maternal and child health in sub-Saharan Africa
KI has been approved continued funding from the Swedish Institute (SI) to implement a capacity building training programme for professionals in sub-Saharan Africa during the period 2023 - 2024. The programme, which has been running since 2020, has resulted in significant positive changes in the field of reproductive, maternal and newborn health.
The training programme is run by the Department of Women's and Children's Health in partnership with universities in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda. The programme, called “Capacity building programme for public health officials in maternal and child health (MIDWIZE)”, targets officials in government institutions, primarily with a background in nursing and midwifery.
Positive maternal and newborn health outcomes
During the past three years, since the start of the training programme, more than 5 000 women in Kenya, Malawi, Uganda and Ethiopia have given birth to their babies within the programme’s quality improvement projects. This has resulted in significant positive maternal and newborn health outcomes. For the women this has meant that they have had better informed birthing choices, used more dynamic birth positions, and experienced better emotional support. The improved newborn outcomes include, for instance, greater frequency of skin-to-skin care, increased breastfeeding initiation and fewer births needing resuscitation.
Scaling up evidence-based practices in maternal and child health
In the current cohort starting in September 2023, the focus will shift to scaling up evidence-based practices, including facilitating birth in dynamic birth positions, improving women’s decision-making, intrapartum support, perineal protection and immediate skin-to-skin care.
“In each country, two midwives from one facility will be chosen as ambassadors for the programme. They will be guided on how to train their colleagues at two other health facilities. We hope that this will help create a powerful multiplier effect“ says Michael Wells, associate professor and course leader at Karolinska Institutet.
Another new focus in the current cohort will be an added element of research, as one of the course participants will evaluate the scaling-up process as part of her PhD project.
About the training programme
The “Capacity building programme for public health officials in maternal and child health (MIDWIZE)” is funded by the Swedish Institute through the SI Public Sector Innovation Programme, which targets universities and colleges. The training programme is carried out in cooperation with key public sector actors in low- and middle-income countries with the aim of promoting innovation and sustainability in partnering countries.
The participants in the programme receive training in leading a Quality Improvement (QI) project. The country teams coordinate a QI project to create the changes mentioned. Examples of QI projects are facilitating birth in dynamic birth positions, improving women’s decision-making, intrapartum support, perineal protection and immediate skin-to-skin care. These components are evidence-based and can be used without expensive equipment and have the potential for positive impact on women’s and newborn's health.
MIDWIZE is a one-year online training programme which is delivered within the Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Health (CESH), collaboration between Karolinska Institutet and Makerere University in Uganda.