Maternal Health

“I Made Some Changes”: A Nurse/Midwife’s Experience with Leadership and Management Training

Sarah DwyerThis post originally appeared on the Maternal Health Task Force blog as part of the “Supporting the Human in Human Resources” blog series cohosted by the Maternal Health Task Force and Jacaranda Health.

“Things were really a bit appalling.”

That’s what conditions at her rural health center felt like to Habiba Shaban Agong, a senior nursing officer and midwife in Uganda.

She says she loves her profession. “In midwifery I do a lot,” she adds proudly. “I help mothers in carrying out their pregnancies. During deliveries I help them to conduct live babies—to make a better future.” But it pained her that her facility wasn’t able to deliver the high quality of services the community deserved.

For starters, there weren’t nearly enough health workers to meet the demand. Each department had only “about one human resource working day and night,” Habiba says. “They get exhausted, and that can hinder service delivery.” Read more »

Picturing Our Work: Teaching Teachers to Save Lives

Devika ChawlaFor millions of women in the world, giving birth is one of the biggest threats to their lives. Nigeria has one of the highest maternal mortality ratiosapproximately 630 women die for every 100,000 births. Having a trained health worker present during the birth can make the difference between life and death for both the mother and the baby. But the challenge lies in ensuring that health workers are present, ready, connected, and safe.

CapacityPlus’s recent work in Nigeria focuses on ensuring health workers are “ready,” meaning that they have the necessary motivation, competencies, and support to meet the needs of their clients and communities. When the CapacityPlus team asked faculty and administrators at schools of midwifery and health technology how the project could support them, the most common answer was, “Train our teachers.” Read more »

US Investments in Foreign Aid Provide a Healthy Return

This post was originally published on USAID's IMPACT blog.

What if you could take a fraction of a penny and use it to help build a health system? Believe it. It takes only a fraction of a single penny per American taxpayer dollar to train a global health workforce—a workforce that will reach millions through treatment, prevention, and counseling services.

Just ask midwife Teddy Tiberimbwaku, who had the opportunity to meet Uganda’s vice president Thursday.

Last year, Uganda’s Ministry of Health, operating with only one doctor and 13 nurses to serve every 10,000 people, was told by the Ministry of Public Service that not only could it not create any new positions, but also any unfilled positions—some 42 percent of them—would be lost. Read more »

Stepping into the Spotlight: Reflections on Community Health Workers

Crystal NgThe focus of community health worker (CHW) discourse seems to have changed, and in my opinion, for the better. Whereas it previously seemed to me that global health conferences and literature focused primarily on training and task-shifting for CHWs, a recent meeting sponsored by the CORE Group—the implementing organization for the USAID Child Survival and Health Network Program—demonstrated that the field is now taking a more comprehensive view, including CHWs as a natural and key part of child survival and maternal and child health discussions.

Applying human resources management to community health workers

Throughout the sessions, the need to consider strategies for managing the development and performance of CHWs as part of a community health system came up repeatedly. Read more »

Building Local Health Systems with Information Systems

This post was originally published on the IntraHealth International blog.

HRIS in IndiaOn my trip to India last month, I didn’t plan to focus on maternal health care, but walking through the maternity ward in Bihar, I couldn’t help but worry about the long lines and hours that keep a woman waiting to see a doctor. The health officials I met with are incredibly committed to serving their communities. In one case, I actually had to walk through the maternity ward to reach my meeting with members of the chief surgeon’s office and the head of district medicine. I realized these men and women walk by the patients every day—women like the proud new mother who urged me to come over and take a photograph of her new daughter. Although the hospital I was in is among the nicest in the state, it lacks many of the essential information systems that can make a health system run efficiently and effectively. In practical terms, this might mean the women I walked by would not have to spend so long waiting to be seen. Read more »

Global Health Workforce News of Interest

Health worker in UgandaHere are five articles I found particularly interesting this week:

Effect of Peer Health Workers on AIDS Care in Rakai, Uganda
This article in the PloS ONE journal reports on the findings of “a cluster randomized trial to assess the effect of community-based peer health workers (PHW) on AIDS care of adults in Rakai, Uganda.” The authors conclude that “PHWs may be an effective intervention to sustain long-term ART in low-resource settings.”

Over 2,000 Health Workers Get Free Phones
The New Times (Rwanda) reports that community health workers in Karongi District “will get free mobile phones as part of government’s efforts to boost the health sector through the use of science and technology.” The phones “are part of an ongoing countrywide campaign to ensure efficient and timely submission of monthly medical reports to the Ministry of Health.”

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