Universities come together to combat maternal mortality in Malawi

Universities come together to combat maternal mortality in Malawi

Scottish experts are aiming to pass on the benefit of their experience in reducing maternal mortality to health professionals and managers from Malawi at a conference to be held in Aberdeen.

The University of Aberdeen and Robert Gordon University will come together with Voluntary Services Overseas (VSO) to host the event that is designed to address the challenges faced by health workers in Malawi.

In Malawi, eight women die in childbirth every day and the country has a chronic shortage of trained health workers.

The University of Aberdeen is home to Immpact - an internationally recognised maternal and newborn health research group whose members have spent time working in Malawi.

Immpact has recently led a maternal health project there in partnership with RGU’s School of Nursing and Midwifery and the Ministry of Health in Malawi. 

VSO also leads two maternal health projects in the country, one combining a community health approach with strengthening nursing and midwifery skills and the other strengthens the capacity of seven nursing and midwifery colleges.

Jacqueline Bell, the Principal Investigator for Immpact’s Malawi project said: “The aim of projects such as these is to build capacity and improve the recruitment and retention of midwives, particularly in rural areas.  

“We’re looking forward to welcoming the delegation from Malawi and hope we can use this event to build future collaborations”

Tracy Humphrey, Professor of Midwifery at Robert Gordon University, said: "Strengthening the education and professionalisation of midwives in Malawi is something we are currently doing with partners in the country to improve outcomes. The seminar will also explore the potential for partnerships to be formed and volunteer schemes to be developed.”

Visitors from Malawi include Professor Address Malata, Principal of Kamuzu College of Nursing, Grace Massah, Dean of Nkhoma College of Nursing and Midwifery and Joyce Kamdonyo, Director of Examinations from the Nursing and Midwifery Council of Malawi. 

They will meet students, midwives and student midwives, representatives from the Malawian Diaspora, academics, clinicians and VSO members at the conference on Monday September 29.

The event will examine ways to forge partnerships in health service management and education and share knowledge.

There will also be an opportunity for UK-based clinicians to discover how they can get involved in volunteering overseas and to explore opportunities for staff and student exchanges.

They will hear from UK nurse volunteer David Atherton, who has recently returned from Malawi after spending two years in a rural hospital sharing vital nursing skills with more than 100 students. 

A series of striking images of mothers and babies in urban and rural maternity units, taken by Aberdeen photographer Donna Murray and commissioned by Immpact, will be on display.

The conference will be held in the Suttie Centre, Foresterhill, from 11 am to 2pm.

 

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