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US Ambassador Commissions New Lab at National School of Midwifery

US Ambassador Commissions New Lab at National School of Midwifery

The United States Ambassador to Sierra Leone, Maria Brewer has officially cut the ribbon to commission the new Library and Skills Laboratory at the National School of Midwifery on Wednesday May 16, 2018 at the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital in Freetown.  (Photo: Ambassador Maria Brewer and Matron Hossinatu Koroma cutting the ribbon)

The new Library and Skills Laboratory is estimated at USD$ 30, 000, and the Victoria for complicated delivery and Neolle for normally delivery machines worth USD$ 71, 000.

The Resilient and Responsive Health Systems (RRHS) Initiative in Sierra Leone is a five-year, USD$ 9.5 million grant administered by the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). Among the aims of RRHS is to achieve improved maternal health outcomes through strengthened midwifery pre-service education.

Cutting the ribbon, the United States Ambassador, Maria Brewer said the U.S. Government has identified health care as one of the top priorities for their engagement with the government and people of Sierra Leone.

U.S. Ambassador, Maria Brewer

She informed her audience that through major contributions by the U.S. Centre for Disease Control and Prevention and USAID, the majority of U.S. foreign assistance to Sierra Leone has been health-related.

Ambassador Maria Brewer reiterated that after the Ebola, they are helping Sierra Leone to build back better its health care system, supporting the country’s capacity to detect, prevent and respond to infectious disease outbreaks in order to protect the citizens of Sierra Leone, the United States, and the rest of the world.

She reminded all that within the past year, another U.S. Government Agency, the Health Research and Services Administration (HRSA) has joined in that effort like CDC, to be part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which is essentially the U.S. Ministry of Health.

She described the event as a milestone with much more to come for nursing and midwifery in Sierra Leone, and proud that HRSA is part of their team to deliver on their priorities in the health sector.

The Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Hossinatu Koroma described the event as first of several skills lab supported through HRSA and ICAP, adding that soon other labs will be open at the School of Midwifery in Makeni and the Faculty of Nursing at COMAHS.

Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Hossinatu Koroma

She informed her audience that Sierra Leone is one of the countries with high mortality rate in the world, adding that in 2014 when they conducted the first mapping survey on midwives, they were able to identify and trained more midwives.

Matron Koroma reiterated that in the upcoming year, the HRSA teams of ICAP and JSI plan to continue many of these ongoing interventions including launching of a Continuous Professional Development Programme for Nurses and Midwives, continue to strengthen the Directorate of Nursing and Midwifery including increased use of data for decision making, and assist with the development of the newly legislated Nursing and Midwifery Council (previously a Board) into a high functioning professional association for nurses and midwives.

In her welcomed remarks, the Deputy Principal, National School of Midwifery, Sister Emilia Decker said the National School of Midwifery (NSM) was founded in 1945, when an 18 months training programme started at Connaught hospital in Freetown.

She told the gathering that in 1957, the midwifery school was moved from Connaught hospital to Cottage hospital now the Princess Christian Maternity Hospital (PCMH) at the top floor of the Domiciliary wing.

Sister Emilia Decker stated that under the Ministry of Health and Sanitation, the school has been appointed to train professional State Registered Nurses (SRNs) and Nurses holding a four years Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSc), both with two years of post-registration relevant professional experience.

She informed the visitors that the full-time postgraduate training spans over a period of 18 months and consists of 40 percent in school Theory-Based Education including practical skills training and 60 percent evidence-based clinical experience at their numerous clinical partner institutions in Freetown. She added that every year 50 nurses enter the training programme to become profession midwives.

Cutting of tape and a conducted tour of the Library and Skills Lab formed high point of the ceremony. 

by Kadrie Koroma 

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