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Improving midwifery skills from Wales to Namibia

15 January 2018

Midwives Phoenix Project

A group of senior midwifery professionals from Cardiff University visited Namibia as part of a programme to improve skills among midwives in the rural north of the country.

The University’s Phoenix Project initially set up the connection with the University of Namibia in 2014 and a significant part of the work involves overcoming the challenges faced by health professionals in the country.

On this occasion, the focus of the visit was to deliver practical clinical skills updates and simulation training for both midwifery educators and clinical midwives from local hospitals. Topics included emergency skills such as newborn resuscitation, suturing and needle safety, and how to deliver a baby in the breech position.

Grace Thomas, Lead Midwife for Education & Professional Head at Cardiff University and one of the trainers on the trip, said: “One of the things that impressed me most about the Namibian midwives was their passion for their work and their ability to cope with difficult situations in a limited resource setting.

“The experience was really special; as well as supporting our colleagues there to update the skills that they identified as challenging, I felt that I and the team were also able to learn a great deal in return.

“One particular highlight was being able to visit one of the rural maternity units at Onandjokwe State Hospital that is responsible for the delivery of around 7,000 babies a year and to see the direct impact our training is having.”

One clinical midwife who received training from the Cardiff team said: “The course was so useful and relevant, [I] wish all nurses/midwives could go through it so it builds their confidence in dealing with daily maternal challenges.”
The work was part-funded by a grant from Hub Cymru Africa who are supported by the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.

Cat Jones, Head of Partnership at Hub Cymru Africa, said: “Supporting partnership working and skills sharing is a key part of the work we do.

“The training skills and working in challenging environments that many of our health professionals are able to develop through experiences like this will serve them well on their return to Wales and help us develop a motivated and resilient experienced workforce in our health services.”

The visit was part of the Phoenix Project’s partnership with the University of Namibia to reduce poverty and promote health in Namibia.