9 November 2021
I am a success of the global empowerment of nursing and midwifery that we have seen during the pandemic, and I am so glad to share what I have gained with my fellow nurses and midwives in my community, country, and world. As an innovative young midwife from Uganda, I have been blessed to be involved in the Nursing Now global campaign and to have been nominated by the International Confederation of Midwives as a Young Midwife Leader through my work. These platforms have exposed me to a huge network of global organizations that have been beneficial to my work supporting nurses and midwives in my community.
I look at health worker well-being through the lens of a nurse and midwife. In 2020, the World Health Organization projected that we need an addition of 9 million nurses and midwives to attain global health coverage by 2030. Unfortunately, we have faced a pandemic that has taken away some of our nurses and midwives and harshly affected others.
This issue is hard to tackle, but we can achieve success if we approach it in partnership, through collaboration, and by learning from other countries. At MILCOT, we work to build the resilience of nurses and midwives in addition to empowering marginalized adolescents and young adults with SRHR and survival skills. For many years, nursing and midwifery have lagged behind; our contribution to health care has been underestimated, and our innovations have not been recognized. Because of this, the MILCOT Nursing Now Challenge program empowers nurses and midwives to develop leadership skills in their clinical work and extend their skills to the community. The results we have seen in our empowerment sessions have been very good. Our nurses and midwives have gotten opportunities to network with the global workforce, and some of them have even started going back to school — all because of the ways in which they’ve been inspired. This shows that when we get empowered, we must also consider empowering others.
Throughout the pandemic, MILCOT has supported nurses and midwives to recognize when they are getting burnt out, to better understand how they can serve the population during the pandemic, and how to enhance their leadership styles. We have empowered them with skills to serve marginalized adolescents and young adults, with a total of 922 individuals being reached with sexual and reproductive health information and services. We must know that life is about the lives we touch – a sentiment that has helped me move through the pandemic and the hard times.
In Uganda, like in many other countries, mental health services for healthcare workforce are lacking, yet this is the time that health workers need to be supported the most. Collaborations across global health networks should be embraced because they are tremendously helpful. MILCOT has been learning from different organizations across countries, for example, Jaya Mental Health in Nepal. We plan to use potential partnerships and collaborations to support nurses and midwives with psychosocial needs that have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic.
We strongly believe that when diverse visions join forces, we are able to achieve greater results, so we must all stand up and realize the power of partnership.