The Esther Bacon School of Nursing and Midwifery (EBSNM) in Zorzor, Lofa County, on Saturday, October 27, held her 9th commencement exercises where 61 candidates, who successfully completed their three years of study, graduated.
The graduates were trained as mid-level healthcare providers from disciplines covering Registered Nurses (12), Registered Midwifery (39), and Certified Midwifery Bridging (10) Programs.
Dr. Philderald Pratt, United Nations Funds for Population Activities (UNFPA) Assistant Representative and Officer-In-Charge, participating as the guest speaker, encouraged the graduates to demonstrate “strong ethical values” in providing health services to their patients.
Dr. Pratt spoke on the topic, “Strong Ethical Values: The Most Vital Tool for Nurses and Midwives in the Fight against Maternal and Neonatal mortality and Morbidity in Liberia.”
He told the graduates that the health status of a nation is often determined by its Maternal Mortality Ratio, which he said is discouragingly high.
To the graduates, Pratt said, “Today our focus is placed on your role as nurses and midwives, and the significance of your involvement in addressing this unacceptably high MMR in the country.”
He added that quality human workforce, as well as joint efforts and commitments of all stakeholders, are essential to improving the country’s overall health indicators.
He said that over the last two decades, despite the ills of our prolonged civil crisis, further exacerbated by the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), “can boast of having made some significant gains by increasing the number of skilled providers (2,000 Certified Midwives, 7,438 Registered Nurses, 712 Registered Midwives, and 62 Registered Nurse-Midwives) reduced under-five mortality rate, and improved contraceptive prevalence rate.”
“Your ability to live up to the high expectations of your patients will depend on how well you have invested in developing your personal, technical and social competencies, because your ability to perform at your very best depends on your competencies,” Pratt told the graduates.
He then challenged each of them to exhibit their acquired skills in their clinical sojourn with professional care in the fight to reduce maternal mortality, adding: “Not only will maternal and neonatal mortality be on a downward trajectory, but so will all other disease conditions.”
Dr. Pratt called for the requisite support and enabling environment to ensure that graduating nurses and midwives can perform at their fullest potential to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and many other disease conditions. EBSNM Director, Willimai Geninyan, who earlier presented the graduates to the Chief of Medical Staff at the Curran Lutheran Hospital for onward presentation to the Lofa County Health Team and the Ministry of Health, recounted the achievements of the institution in developing the country’s health workforce.
Madam Geninyan praised partners of the school, including USAID (Unites States Agency for International Development) through the Maternal and Child Survival Program (MCSP) for improving both the infrastructure and learning environment. She outlined upgrading of the Simulation Lab and Library as well as a fully equipped Computer Lab with full internet coverage and the provision of vehicle to transport students to clinical sites as key achievement for her administration.
Several dignitaries who were among scores of other well-wishers that made remarks included the Ministry of Health (MoH), represented by the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer, Tarloh Quiwonkpa, Lofa County Health Officer, Representatives of Nursing/Midwifery Institutions, Liberian Nurses Association, Liberian Midwifery Association, and Liberia Board for Nursing and Midwifery.
Others were Esther Bacon Board of Trustee, Lutheran Church of Liberia, Zorzor District Commissioner and representatives from non governmental organizations.
The EBSNM is one of the six Pre-Service Training Institutions being supported by the Maternal and Child Survival Program, a global effort to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes funded by USAID as its primary support to the MOH National Health Workforce Program for increasing the quality and quantity of human resources for health.
MCSP works alongside the government and partners to strengthen health services. MCSP/HRH is working to improve health workforce readiness, with a focus on reinforcing entry-level Registered Midwives and Medical Laboratory Technicians’ Pre-Service Education.
With USAID’s support, the MCSP HRH Project focuses on improving health workers’ performance and delivery of services in building a fit-for-purpose productive and motivated health workforce that equitably and optimally delivers quality services by implementing key activities, including development of leadership and management, as well as faculty and preceptors, curriculum revision and update, improving skills and computer labs, updating library and strengthening clinical site in evidence-based practice.