Esther Bacon Nursing, Midwifery School Showing Positive Results
Zorzor City, Lofa County – The successful graduation of 61 nurses and midwives of the Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery (EBSNM) in Zorzor, Lofa County has shown the significant progress the school is making.
The graduates, who obtained diplomas recently after three years hard study, comprised the ninth graduating class. The event was held at the Curran Lutheran Church Hospital Compound in Zorzor city.
Twelve persons graduated as Registered Nurse (12), 39 as Registered Midwifery and 10 Certified Midwifery to Registered Midwifery.
Willimai Geninyan, Director of the EBSNM, lauded the support of the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) and Human Resources for Health (HRH) Project.
MCSP HRH is a USAID funded project providing support to the EBSNM with its focus on supporting Faculty Development Program, which is intended to strengthen performance of teachers and preceptors; the Leadership Management Development Program, technical updates particularly the Perinatal and EmONC training using the Low Dose High Frequency (LDHF) approach, and upgrading of the Simulation Lab and Library.
Other interventions by MCSP HRH include establishing a fully equipped computer lab with full Internet coverage and the provision of a vehicle to transport students to clinical sites to ensure critical supervision.
MCSP works alongside the Government of Liberia and partners to strengthen health services. MCSP/HRH is working to improve health workforce readiness, with a focus on reinforcing entry-level Registered Midwives and Medical Laboratory Technicians’ Pre-Service Education.
The Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery is one of the six Pre-Service Training Institutions supported by MCSP as part of global effort to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes funded by USAID. It is a primary support to the MOH National Health Workforce Program for increasing the quality and quantity of human resources for health.
The graduates were presented to the Chief of Medical Staff at the Curran Lutheran Hospital in Lofa County and they were further presented to the County Health Team and the Ministry of Health.
During the presentation of the graduates, Geninyan added that the out-going students were prepared because “the teachers and preceptors in the school were now trained and using effective methodology in teaching and student assessment”.
She added that staff at the facility are now confident and are providing current best practice services in Respectful Maternity Care (RMC). The nursing and midwifery school is now able to save lives and increase hospital and clinic utilization, which is teaching students to provide quality services.
Said Madam Geninyan: “The students are not only competent but confident in carrying out maternal and newborn procedures and managing patients through practicing at the Simulation Center in the school and Preceptor Corners in the hospital. There is no doubt about their preparedness as this has been verified by health facilities and CHTs where the students went for affiliation”.
The college now has an updated curriculum and other learning materials including current editions of textbooks and access to a state of the art computer lab, and the leadership of the school is now able to use data for making decisions and are mobilized and managing resources effectively, Willimai said.
The EBSNM Director declared that the administration plans to make EBSNM a full-fresh degree level Institution; adding, “To make our institution learning friendly, we have embarked on the construction of a multi-purpose complex, which is currently at foundation level”, she concluded.
The Chief of Party of the MCSP HRH Project then emphasized that there’s “still a long way to go”.
Said Mrs. Marion Subah: “It seems we are on the way with the preparedness, Competence and confidence now being seen in midwifery staff and others providing quality reproductive maternal and newborn health (RMNH) and the number of qualified students that are now choosing and completing the Registered Midwifery Program has increased.”
She commended EBSNM for working “so hard to get the school academic schedule on line with the other schools”.
She added that it’s a task agreed upon by the newly established Network of deans and directors of Pre-service Education Institutions because of the leadership and management developed by MCSP HRH.
Mrs. Subah also thanked USAID and UNFPA for leading the support for Midwifery and Pre-service Education, while challenging the two international organizations to continue their support.
Meanwhile, Philderald Pratt the assistant representative and officer-in-charge of the United Nations Funds for Population Activities (UNFPA), urged the new graduates to demonstrate “strong ethical values” in providing health services to their patients.
Mr. Pratt was speaking as the guest speaker on the theme, “Strong Ethical Values: The Most Vital Tool for Nurses and Midwives in the fight against maternal and neonatal mortality and morbidity in Liberia”.
Strong Ethical Values: The most vital tool of Nurses and Midwives in the fight against Maternal and Neonatal Mortality and Morbidity in Liberia are ethics as moral principles that govern a person’s behavior of conducting of an activity.
Dr. Pratt reflected: “We first learned about ethics in our fundamentals of Nursing and Midwifery courses where we learned among many principles, and nurses and midwives should respect their patients, maintain their patients’ dignity, protect their patients’ rights, protect the safety of the patient and be sensitive to the religious and cultural rights of the patients.
He also told the graduates that a country’s Maternal Mortality Ratio (MMR) often determines the health status of a nation.
“Our MMR is discouragingly high,” he emphasized. “Graduates, today our focus is placed on your role, as nurses and midwives and the significance of your involvement in addressing this unacceptably high MMR in the Country.”
Addressing his audience further, Dr. Pratt added that quality human workforce as well as joint efforts and commitments of all stakeholders is essential to improving the overall health indicators of Liberia.
He said despite the civil crisis and the Ebola outbreak, the country can still boast of having made some significant gains in increasing the number of skilled providers (2,000 Certified Midwives, 7,438 Registered Nurses, 712 Registered Midwives, and 62 Registered Nurse-Midwives), reduced under-five mortality rate, and improved contraceptive prevalence rate amongst others.
But the UNFPA Deputy Boss also warned that the fight against Maternal Mortality is far from being won.
He than cautioned the new graduates to maximize their “ability to live up to the high expectations of your patients will depend on how well you have invested in developing your personal, technical and social competencies. Your ability to perform at your very best depends your competencies.”
Dr. Pratt also challenged the graduates to exhibit skills acquired in order to reduce maternal mortality.
He then called for the requisite support and enabling environment for nurses and midwives adding, “in our fight to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and many other disease conditions”.
Several dignitaries were among scores of well-wishers who graced the occasion. Amongst them were the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Tarloh Quiwonkpa, Lofa County Health Officer, representatives of nursing/midwifery institutions, Liberian Nurses Association, Liberian Midwifery Association, and Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery.