Maternal-Child Health Leadership Academy Africa

The Sigma Foundation for Nursing is proud to provide financial assistance for emerging initiatives, such as the Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy–Africa. It is presented in partnership with Johnson & Johnson Global Community Impact Africa. Additional support for this program is provided thanks to donations from members and chapters to the Foundation's Future Fund.
Learn more about this academy.

2018-2019 Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy–Africa

2018-19_mchnla-africa_cohort photo
The Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy–Africa (MCHNLA–Africa) Workshop 1 was 16-19 April 2018 in Pretoria, South Africa. The academy includes the first two dyads from Ghana. In addition, 10 other dyads are participating from Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda. To build upon the successes of previous cohorts, former mentees are mentors for the new cohort.

Mari Ani-Amponsah is serving as the faculty advisor for the first two dyads from Ghana to participate in the Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy–Africa. 

Learn more about the 2018-2019 cohort of the Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy (MCHNLA) and meet the participants.

MCHNLA-Africa Workshop 2 took place 15-18 April 2019 in Muldersdrift, South Africa. The academy included mentee Tabitha Mikeka from Malawi, who is currently implementing her project Intensifying Monitoring and Care of Preterm and Low Birth Weight Babies at Thyolo District Hospital-Malawi. Tabitha's project has a goal of reducing neonatal deaths due to prematurity and low birth weight complications by 21% after 18 months of interventions. Her preliminary results show a 3% reduction in neonatal deaths from July 2018-February 2019. Tabitha is currently working with Edith Tewesa (mentor) and Ellen Chirwa (faculty) along with staff members at Thyolo District Hospital-Malawi. 

2018-19 MCHNLA-Africa cohort members_Doku-Yakubu_Mari
2018-19 MCHNLA-Africa_cohort-and-project-members

Eugenia Doku and Amina Vida Yakubu work with Mari on their project, Capacity Building for Nurses & Midwives in Effective Management of Postpartum Hemorrhage.

Tabitha Mikeka (mentee), Edith Tewesa (mentor), and Ellen Chirwa (faculty) with other members of the project team at Thyolo District Hospital-Malawi.

Lydia Owusu and Lorraine Arko work with Mari on their project, Improving Nutrition in Children Under 5 Using Local Foods.

2016-2017 Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy–Africa

MCH Africa - group
Nurses in the 2016-2017 Maternal-Child Health Leadership Academy–Africa cohort represent the countries of Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, and Uganda.
MCH Africa

Pictured Left to Right:
Mpume Xaba and Carol Adams, Durbin University of Technology, Sbongile Zondi, KwaZulu-Natal Department of Health, Brassby Keswa and Jeunesse Chinnasamy, University of South Africa.


2014-2015 Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy–Africa

provided by Christa SJC Van Der Walt, MCHNLA Africa Faculty Advisor

The sub-Saharan African countries suffer from the highest maternal, neonatal, and child mortality rates in the world. Due to the diversity within these countries and the scarcity of physicians, nurses and midwives are the core of the health care system. As a result, most often it is nurses and midwives who will take the lead in providing maternal-child health services. A healthy workforce and strong leaders are required to transform the health of mothers, babies, and children up to 5 years old in Africa. The aim of the Maternal-Child Health Nurse Leadership Academy–Africa (MCHNLA–Africa) is to prepare young nurse and midwife leaders for effective interprofessional team leadership as they strive to improve the quality of health care for childbearing women and children up to 5 years old.

After MCHNLA was successfully piloted in South Africa in 2012-2013, Sigma and Johnson & Johnson again partnered to fund a new cohort. The first MCHNLA Africa cohort — 2014-2015 — is now close to completion, and we are ready for new beginnings. Nurses and midwives from four African countries are participating: one dyad from Malawi led by Faculty Advisor Professor Ellen Chirwa; two dyads from Uganda led by Faculty Advisor Dr. Gorrette Nalwadda; one dyad from Swaziland led by Faculty Advisor Dr. Oslinah Ngatanazvo; and seven dyads from four South African provinces — one from Limpopo led by Faculty Advisor Kefilwe Thopola, four from Gauteng led by Faculty Advisors Professor Christa van der Walt, Dr. Roinah Ngunyulu, and Tshidi Chockwe; one from North-West Province led by Faculty Advisor Dr. Karin Minnie; and one from Free State led by Faculty Advisor Elgonda Bekker.

This is a very talented and enthusiastic group of young emerging leaders who either introduced or strengthened evidence-based initiatives in relation to areas of concern in their countries. These areas include quality improvement challenge projects such as the Helping Babies Breathe Initiative, Magnesium Sulphate administration in pre-eclamptic women, action research to promote maternal health in a specific area, identifying contributory factors to perinatal mortality, signal functions, the correct use of the partogram, intra-partum fetal monitoring to prevent birth asphyxia, developmental supportive care in NICU, record keeping, prevention of maternal malnutrition, birthing partner support, and breastfeeding through skin-to-skin care of healthy and sick newborn babies. Not only do these projects positively impact the lives and health of mothers, babies, and under-5 children, but it also impacts members of the health teams, families, and local communities.

The dyads disseminated the findings of their projects and share their leadership journeys at the Annual Tau Lambda at-Large Chapter Conference in Johannesburg, South Africa — and the drums will sound again as we celebrate the success of these young leaders in improving the quality of care rendered to mothers, babies, and under-5 children of Africa.