Between 2016 and 2019 the International Confederation of Midwives, with generous support of the Sanofi Espoir Foundation (SEF), embarked on a project to Strengthen Midwifery Education in French Speaking Africa, specifically, Comorès, Côte d’Ivoire and Madagascar. In all three of these countries, the project was implemented in select schools and clinical sites by the Midwives’ Association, and in close collaboration with the respective Ministries of Health (MoH), Ministries of Higher Education and Ministries of Education (MoE).
The key project goals were as follows:
- To strengthen midwifery education programmes in French-speaking Africa
- To build the capacity of midwifery educators in Competency Based Education (CBE) methodologies and approaches and support faculty development
- To enhance the capacity of the clinical settings to support midwifery education
- To initiate the development of an accreditation tool and endorsement system for midwifery education programmes
- To improve and harmonise midwifery education in this region using ICM global standards, competencies and tools
Ultimately, the project aimed to improve maternal and newborn health within the region.
The Strengthening Midwifery Education in French-speaking Africa project has not only positively impacted midwifery education in the three focus countries, but also in the wider French-speaking African region, and midwifery globally. The project highlighted the importance of competency-based education methodologies in promoting learning among midwifery students, helping them to develop skills as midwives. The Competency Based Education (CBE) process of active and hands-on learning is particularly suited for students to develop the knowledge, skills, behaviours and attitudes they need to meet the ICM Essential Competencies for Midwifery Practice.
The implementation of CBE also had a positive impact on midwifery educators, providing them with the opportunity to develop their teaching skills and build their own expertise as midwives. High-quality midwifery education prepares qualified midwife graduates and in turn these midwives can improve the maternal and newborn health sectors in their countries. Midwifery education is foundational to quality care and this project has demonstrated why investing in midwives and their training is a life-saving strategy.
270 midwife teachers were trained in CBE through this project, ultimately improving maternal and newborn health in Comorès, Côte d’Ivoire and Madagascar.
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