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.