The Ministry of Health (MoH) on July 23, 2020 officially launched the National Nursing and Midwifery policy and plan for 2020-2025 at the Ministry in Congo Town.
“To contribute towards the achievement of the Ministry’s vision, this policy focuses on strengthening coordination, collaboration with the nursing and midwifery association, and health regulatory boards; and ensures the high quality of nursing and midwifery training practice. The Policy seeks to advocate for nurses and midwives employment and benefits on an equitable basis, strengthen the governance structure of the nursing and midwifery division and to continuously ensure quality of healthcare protocols and standards are adhered to by all Nurses and Midwives practicing in Liberia’’, the policy is quoted as saying.
According to the new health policy, this will further be enforced by the following principles: professionalism will be the hall mark of the National Nursing and Midwifery workforce compliance—implementation of the Nursing and Midwifery policy and plan will emphasize adherence to polices regulations, legislation, enforcement and local ordinances in the Republic of Liberia.
At the same time, the policy reiterates partnership and Coordination—broad based partnership at national county, district and community levels involving donors, NGOs, government agencies, private institutions and community will be forged in achieving the goal of this policy. A partnership coordination mechanism will be established to coordinate partners and advice on policy and technical issues and decentralization—the Ministry of Health ensures a systematic decentralization of Nursing and Midwifery activities in line with the MOH decentralization policy.
The Nursing and Midwifery Policy Document is to also offer legal and regulatory framework for Nurses and Midwives within the health sector and to create an enabling environment for Nurses and Midwives as well as the provision of quality health care delivery throughout the Republic of Liberia that is accessible to Situational Analysis: the situational analysis determined that Nurses and Midwives constitutes about 76% of the health workforce.
The practice of nursing and midwifery is committed to functional and collaboration relationship with other healthcare providers. Member of the profession share the responsibilities for leadership in the healthcare system, and are guided by ethical standards in the services to humanity. These professions determine the practice and control of their profession. With more than 70% of the health care providers being nurses and midwives, Liberia like all other countries in the world depends largely on them to run an effective and resilient healthcare system. The National health policy and plan (2007-2011, 2011-2021) further alluded to the need for skilled human resource as the backbone for a healthy and prosperous population. Therefore, in order to substantially improve the health status of the population, the Ministry of Health and partners led a participatory process of developing and establishing one holistic, evidence-based policy framework explicitly aimed at guiding decision makers through the next five years. The process included analyzing Nurses and Midwives situation in the Country.
The event, held under the theme, “Unlocking the Potential of Nurses and Midwives in Liberia”, brought together nurses, midwives as well as medical doctors.
In remarks, the keynote speaker of the launch, Elizabeth Sele Mulbah, who spoke on the occasion via zoom communication, stressed the need for a practical health culture that will appeal to the consciences of all Liberians and not health workers and professionals alone.
“If we must connect the power of evidence-based policy to achieve lasting change for everyone to have the chance to live as healthy a life as possible, we need public policy that will help to maximize access to quality and affordable health care, as well as create communities that are healthier and more inclusive in providing everyone with the opportunity to strive,” said Madam Mulbah.
She called on the Ministry and its employers to ensure that nurses and midwives in their employ carry current license. “Nurses and midwives, we need to set up a peer review committee to handle any and all discrepancies among us. Serve as a sounding board and bring colleagues to book whenever necessary.”
The former Vice-Chair of the Governance Commission added that if we are to benefit from continuing education, needs assessment is a must. Sending a nurse or midwife to a skills training workshop when his or her need is attitudinal change, becomes a waste of time and money.
“Achieving health for all will depend on sufficient numbers of well-trained and educated, regulated and well-supported nurses and midwives, who receive pay and recognition commensurate with the services and quality of care that they provide,” she said.
She noted that in order to have well equipped nurses and midwives, the government and partners must support nurses and midwives. The report of the UN High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth concluded that investments in education and job creation in the health and social sectors result in a triple return of improved health outcomes, global health security, and inclusive economic growth.
“We should come together to present a comprehensive budget to the government through the MOH each year, and only then would the left hand knows what the right hand is doing or receiving to assist each other in our training areas because we are a team, we can learn from each other and our patients will be better off”, she recommended.
Madam Mulbah urged nurses and midwives to remain composed as the current situation will not remain the same always.
Placing emphases on the selection of the Chief launcher of the occasion, Norwu Howard Deputy Health Minister for Administration indicated that madam Mulbah sees herself as one of the privileged few, with the challenges and responsibilities to promote the advancement of more women and girls in Liberia.
“She thinks women leaders are only given the opportunity to bring out their leadership quality that has been silent for years by culture and tradition; that women should not make the Mistakes by thinking they can do it alone—we must join men to work together as a team.
“Her perception for Liberia’s growth and development is something she would like to see emphases being placed on by building the capacity of the citizens and advancement in education, Health, food production and infrastructure, especially roads,” she disclosed.