Liberia: Partner in Health Graduates 16 Fellows

Maryland County — Partner In Health, a charity in collaboration with the Maryland County Health Team has graduated 16 Fellows.

The program held on Wednesday, July 28, 2021, at the Catholic Pastoral Center in Harper City, Maryland County Electoral district#1, brought together Dr. Methodius George, county health officer, Mrs. Lydia Johnson, chair of Tubman University Nursing College; Mr. Ibrahim Sanoe, acting medical director, J.J Desson Hospital; Mrs. Juliet Natt Doe, administrator, J.J Dossen Hospital; Sis. Vola Karanja, deputy executive director, PIH; and Ashley Dawewood, policy and partnership director, PIH-Liberia, among others.

Sister Vola Karanja said Global Action In Nursing (GAIN) is a women-led project out of the University of California, San Francisco.

She explained that in 2020, GAIN extended its nurse training and mentorship model from Malawi to Liberia and Sierra Leone with Partners In Health (PIH) as implementing partner.

According to the Partner In Health deputy executive director, the program's extension to Liberia, specifically Maryland County is based on the high rate of neonatal and mortality globally for which Liberia is no exception.

She explained the GAIN fellowship was launched by PIH and the Maryland County Health Team in April 2021 to develop expert nursing and midwifery leaders that can improve the quality of care and health outcomes for pregnant women and their babies.

Sis. Karanja noted the training targeted 16 clinicians from the J.J. Dossen Hospital and the Pleebo and Karloken health centers, respectively in the county.

The 16 nurses, midwives, and nursing students specifically came from J.J. Dossen Hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Obstetric Unit, Post Anesthesia Care Unit, and Emergency Room and from the Pleebo health center's maternal child health department, respectively for the first cohort of the fellowship program.

"Globally, nurses and midwives provide more than 80 percent of care to patients and often face personnel shortages, insufficient training opportunities and a lack of efficacy to shape decision-making at the policy level. All of these negatively impact patient outcomes", she said.

County health officer Dr. George Methodius, in a statement, read on his behalf explained, "while short training courses may provide some value in improving linkages to care, long-term ownership and application of these skills is vital."

He said given the limited workforce, community health workers and nurses will form the backbone of these activities in Liberia, which led to a decision to introduce the program.

"To the fellows, you are being charged with this responsibility. Your faculty has confidence in you. We have free health services, the best facilities, best equipment, and professionals but still have maternal and neonate deaths; you should be driven to change this" he challenged the graduates.

The Global Action In Nursing has been working with health facilities globally to implement targeted education and clinical skills training, coupled with longitudinal mentorship based on locally identified areas of intervention committed to: expanding the nursing workforce through scholarships, developing upgrading programs for technical nurses to achieve bachelor's level education, and growing a team of maternal/neonatal clinical experts by customizing and deploying an evidence-based short course and recruiting midwifery mentors.

The goal is to establish Maryland as a model county for reproductive maternal newborn child and adolescent health. PIH is committed to reaching all women and children in need and delivering respectful, high-quality care in the county.

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