Leadership Training for Midwives Association of Zambia (MAZ)
The workshop was attended by 20 senior midwives and senior officers including the Deputy Director Nursing Services, Ms Emily Chipaya; the Registrar of the Zambia Nursing Council Ms Universe Mulenga; and the Registrar of the Health Professions Council of Zambia, Dr Mary Zulu.
A well-known firm on leadership and team building was co-facilitating by encouraging the midwives to have confidence in themselves and develop the “we can do it” attitude. The facilitator urged midwives to liberate their minds and be convinced of their own value as a professional group remembering that they are unique and can lead the association for the benefit of all the women, newborn, midwives and families of Zambia. The speech was followed by team building exercises which culminated in the production of a list of activities and the development of a prioritised action plan. The urgent activity agreed on by all was resource mobilisation. A number of approaches were agreed and will be utilised as from the day after the workshop
ICM facilitators Nester T Moyo and Rachel Ibinga Koula used MACAT to identify mechanisms and policies needed for effective governance, management and leadership of the Association. The mechanisms included governance policies, operational policies, and resource and finance management policies. These were to be prioritised and used as the basis of an action plan which the Association Executive will complete after the workshop. Financial management, governance and resource mobilisation were discussed in detail.
The UNFPA Finance Officer, Ms Chishala Mfula, made a very clear and helpful presentation on the management of financial resources. Her presentation was very helpful in guiding the Executive in what financial management polices they need to put in place.
Mr Moses Zangar, Communications Manager of UNDP Zambia, shared ideas on how best MAZ can communicate and use current media approaches to increase the association’s visibility and to mobilise support and resources. He offered his expertise to the association to enhance their communication skills and mechanisms.
UNFPA’s Dr Ismail Ndifuna closed the workshop on behalf of the UNFPA Country Representative Ms Mary Otieno. He challenged the midwives to be clear of their goals, what they promote and what they represent. Zambia is privileged to have midwives who are united. MAZ needs to realise that it is not enough to deliver a service to perfection but to consider the product and the way of delivery. MAZ should have a strategic objective which is clear.
The Country Representative stated that UNFPA is proud to be associated with the programme and urged the midwives to remember that a strong team spirit is required for effectiveness. The association now needs to stamp its mark on the Zambian Maternal Newborn and Child Health policy. Everyone is looking forward to the association stamping out the bad attitudes that some midwives display as those attitudes maar everyone else’s contribution.
Quotes from officials participating in the workshop:
Dr Mary Zulu Registrar Health Professions Council of Zambia
The Health Professions Council of Zambia is the accrediting body for all health care professionals in Zambia except nurses and midwives.
Dr Zulu attended two days of the workshop and took a very active supportive role throughout. Her contributions included guiding and mentoring the group in some thought processes. At the end of the workshop Dr Zulu had this to say:
“As a mother and grandmother, I am very excited that the Midwives Association of Zambia (MAZ) has been established whose objective is to create a forum for promoting best practices and enforcing the Code of Conduct in the practice of midwifery. From time immemorial the midwives in Zambia have been saving lives. However it is very unfortunate that the image of midwives has been tainted by a few who have exhibited some negative attitudes towards the mothers. As an ex officio on the National Executive Committee (NEC) of MAZ, I wish to encourage the members to put strategies in place to ensure that there is a change in the negative attitude the public has about midwives”.
Ms Universe Mulenga Registrar General Nursing Council (GNC) of Zambia
The General Nursing Council of Zambia is the accrediting body for all nurses and midwives in Zambia and therefore the midwives, as a professional group, fall under this body.
Ms Mulenga spent two days at the workshop working closely with the midwives. When I met with her in her office after the workshop she had this to say in relation to the midwives and the workshop that had just ended:
‘’This workshop is just what the midwives needed. I am sure after this the association will rise to the occasion to create professional checks and balances. It is now possible for the association to transform practice for the benefit of women, newborn and their families in Zambia. People are watching the association and are hoping for positive outputs.
We are aware that there is a critical shortage of midwives. Not everyone is always aware of the gravity of the situation. But the Association will be able to bring out the hidden issues in the profession. The Association should now be able to address the gap between midwives and the public and assist people to understand the unique role of the midwife in care provision”
These are encouraging words and MAZ should be encouraged to surge forward.
Ms Emily Chipaya, Deputy Director Nursing Services of Zambia
Ms Chipaya is in the Ministry of Health offices; the Department of Nursing. Her office is in charge of the Nurses and Midwives of Zambia and is a strong advocate for midwives and midwifery.
Mrs Chipaya spent two days at the workshop interacting very closely with the midwives. Her voice was that of encouragement and support. She also expressed concern for the quality of care that the women of Zambia receive from Midwives.
When I visited her in her office after the workshop, she remained encouraging and said she herself was encouraged by the input of the workshop. She felt the midwives are ready to go on. She felt the midwives should now feel ready to take on the challenge of unifying the midwives of Zambia and improving services. One point made by the Deputy Director was that the midwives need to be more familiar with the policies of the Ministry of Health so that they can use those to guide their decision making including when they are forming partnerships with other organisations. Now that they are standing up to take on the work, MAZ will need to form useful collaborations and at the same time ensure that these relationships are in line with MoH policy. That way MAZ will be a strong support for the Ministry of Health. The profession should take the lead.