World Continuing Education Alliance collaboration with Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine to strengthen the capacity of skilled health personnel and midwifery educators
Midwifery is a key strategy and pathway to reducing maternal and newborn mortalities and morbidities globally. Recent evidence show that midwifery-led interventions can prevent two-thirds of the world’s maternal and newborn deaths, contributing to the achievement of maternal and newborn health sustainable development goal (SDG) targets. For this to be achieved, midwives need to be professionally trained and possess the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) essential competencies for midwifery practice, licensed and regulated to function in an enabling environment critical to achieving the universal health coverage (UHC) goals particularly in low resource settings.
For midwives and other skilled health personnel to have the capacity to practice safely and competently while meeting the level of competence required for the profession and for the provision of quality care, they need to engage in mandatory continuous professional development (CPD) as recommended by the World Health Organisation and ICM. Through such capacity strengthening engagement, quality person and people-centered care make UHC possible, particularly in low-resource settings, where access to good quality healthcare services remains a considerable challenge and hinders the attainment of the SDGs.
Different modes of delivery exist for CPD. Face-to-face contact continues to be the prominent format of delivery although online learning, commonly known as mHealth, is an increasingly popular format that increases access, particularly to skilled health personnel in rural areas. The World Continuing Education Alliance (WCEA) is a leading organisation providing access to mHealth learning opportunities in Africa, Asia and Middle – East for improved health outcomes. As part of its investment in strengthening skilled health personnel capacity through CPD, Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine (LSTM) has collaborated with WCEA in capacity strengthening of skilled health personnel through the self-directed online resources since 2020. LSTM has designed learning resource packages for skilled health personnel and nursing and midwifery educators in developing countries to help update their knowledge and skills for professional practice described below. All packages have inbuilt evaluation of learning.
- Key Life Saving Skills CPD modules
United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in collaboration with the Johnson & Johnson Center for Health Worker Innovation, LSTM and WCEA developed a series of e-learning midwifery training resources for midwives and other maternity care providers. These resources were launched in February 2022 can be accessed globally via the WCEA App. These resources provide an online opportunity for midwives and other frontline maternity care providers to strengthen their knowledge and skills in the key areas that represent the leading causes of maternal mortality: Sepsis; Prolonged and Obstructed Labor; Postpartum Haemorrhage; Pre-Eclampsia and Eclampsia. The modules have been designed to complement in-person training and facility-based mentorship activities.
- The Midwifery Educator CPD Package
This is part of LSTM’s blended CPD program specific for midwifery educators delivered as a self-directed online package. The 20-hour package focuses on strengthening the nursing and midwifery educators’ key pedagogy knowledge and skills in teaching methodologies, student assessment and effective feedback, mentoring and reflective practice. This package is divided into four interactive modules .This package was launched on the International Day of the Midwife (5th May 2022) and to date (June 2023), over 13,000 nursing and midwifery educators and practitioners from across the globe have accessed and completed the self-directed online modules. Initial feedback shows a positive reaction to the content by the educators. LSTM is testing the feasibility of this blended CPD program among Kenya and Nigeria midwifery educators from both mid-level and university training institutions. Findings will inform policy on faculty development opportunities and practice for nursing and midwifery educators in low- and middle-income countries.
- Blended Learning ANC & PNC Quality Improvement CPD Package
This is LSTM’s innovative blended learning approach to CPD for health care professionals involved in the provision of antenatal care (ANC) and postnatal care (PNC) in low-income countries launched in September 2022. The ANC and PNC blended learning package is part of the implementation research programme to improve the quality of integrated HIV, TB, and malaria services in ANC and PNC. The new package covers essential components of ANC and PNC including integration of HIV, TB, and malaria services, as well as quality care, respectful maternity care, communication, and emotional and mental health assessment. The package is delivered in three parts: (i) Part 1 – self-directed learning on the WCEA platform, (ii) Part 2 facilitated virtual/online sessions and (iii) Part 3 face-to-face sessions.
The collaboration between WCEA and LSTM continues to advance pre-service midwifery education and CPD for skilled health personnel. Through the various implementation research programmes, LSTM continues to test the feasibility that includes acceptability, relevance, appropriateness and sustainability of the different blended learning approaches in strengthening the competencies of educators and practitioners for quality care, achievement of UHC and maternal and newborn SDGs
- Duncan Shikuku (Senior Technical Officer – Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine) &
- Charles Ameh (Professor, Global Health – Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine)