Maternal-Child Health Leadership Academy Africa
The Sigma Theta Tau International Foundation for Nursing is proud to provide financial assistance for emerging initiatives, such as the Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy Africa. It is presented in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Corporate Contributions. Additional support for this program is provided thanks to donations from members and chapters to the Foundation's Future Fund.
provided by Christa SJC Van Der Walt, MCHNLA Africa Faculty Advisor
The sub-Saharan African countries suffer from the highest maternal, neonatal, and child mortality rates in the world. Due to the diversity within these countries and the scarcity of physicians, nurses and midwives are the core of the health care system. As a result, most often it is nurses and midwives who will take the lead in providing maternal-child health services. A healthy workforce and strong leaders are required to transform the health of mothers, babies, and children up to 5 years old in Africa. The aim of the Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy (MCHNLA) Africa is to prepare young nurse and midwife leaders for effective interprofessional team leadership as they strive to improve the quality of health care for childbearing women and children up to 5 years old.
After MCHNLA was successfully piloted in South Africa in 2012-2013, the Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International and Johnson & Johnson again partnered to fund a new cohort. The first MCHNLA Africa cohort — 2014-2015 — is now close to completion, and we are ready for new beginnings. Nurses and midwives from four African countries are participating: one dyad from Malawi led by Faculty Advisor Professor Ellen Chirwa; two dyads from Uganda led by Faculty Advisor Dr. Gorrette Nalwadda; one dyad from Swaziland led by Faculty Advisor Dr. Oslinah Ngatanazvo; and seven dyads from four South African provinces — one from Limpopo led by Faculty Advisor Kefilwe Thopola, four from Gauteng led by Faculty Advisors Professor Christa van der Walt, Dr. Roinah Ngunyulu, and Tshidi Chockwe; one from North-West Province led by Faculty Advisor Dr. Karin Minnie; and one from Free State led by Faculty Advisor Elgonda Bekker.
This is a very talented and enthusiastic group of young emerging leaders who either introduced or strengthened evidence-based initiatives in relation to areas of concern in their countries. These areas include quality improvement challenge projects such as the Helping Babies Breath Initiative, Magnesium Sulphate administration in pre-eclamptic women, action research to promote maternal health in a specific area, identifying contributory factors to perinatal mortality, signal functions, the correct use of the partogram, intra-partum fetal monitoring to prevent birth asphyxia, developmental supportive care in NICU, record keeping, prevention of maternal malnutrition, birthing partner support, and breastfeeding through skin-to-skin care of healthy and sick newborn babies. Not only do these projects positively impact the lives and health of mothers, babies, and under-5 children, but it also impacts members of the health teams, families, and local communities.
The dyads will disseminate the findings of their projects and share their leadership journeys at the Annual Tau Lambda-at-Large Chapter Conference this August in Johannesburg, South Africa — and the drums will sound again as we celebrate the success of these young leaders in improving the quality of care rendered to mothers, babies, and under-5 children of Africa.