PROOF OF IMPACT: Interview with Prisca Mulongo – Midwife for the Ministry of Health, a Clinical Instructor for General Nursing and Midwifery students, and is a trained Adolescent Sexual Reproductive Health Provider.
An interest in science sparked at Pestalozzi Zambia motivated Prisca to do nursing, along with witnessing poor medical treatment provided to her aunt in a rural hospital.
As a child, Prisca had to live with her step-mother with whom she had a far from amicable relationship with, and her father was regularly away. But her life completely changed when she was selected to join Pestalozzi World as she said:
“I got the love that I needed and the care. The environment altogether was totally different from where I came from. When I came here (Pestalozzi Zambia), I was ten years old and joined in with my other friends from different districts or towns. I loved singing, gardening, baking and other skills.”
Graduating from our Zambian Village
Prisca graduated from our Zambian Village in 2007 and shortly after joined as an assistant housemother, taking care of 60 children. Then from there she managed to get a sponsor to support her through her registered nursing diploma, followed by three years to become a registered midwife at the University Teaching Hospital under Zambia Ministry of Health sponsorship.
Prisca has become a Clinical Instructor for general nursing and midwifery students which is an significant role because in Zambia the average number of children per women of reproductive age is 4.7 births, therefore she has considerable influence on communities. Prisca, has also had the joy of teaching many new midwives to help them develop their skills and expertise in midwifery.
Prisca has helped thousands of women in rural Zambia during their pregnancies and labour, along side also advising and supporting thousands more teenagers in understanding their sexual health. With 54.5% of the population of Zambia living under the poverty line and with a population average age of 16.9, and with an AIDs crisis and with almost 100,000 orphans and vulnerable children, this advice couldn’t be more important to the young people in her community.
Her work also supports the National Health Strategic Plan which set a target in Zambia to decrease the maternal mortality ratio from 398 to 162 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births.
We have established that Prisca’s work contributes to the following United Nations Sustainable Development Goals:
Prisca kindly answered the following questions for us, in relation to her profession:
Q1. How has midwifery has benefited my community/country?
“Working as a Midwife has played a crucial role in benefiting my community and the country at large in several ways:
- Maternal and Infant Health: with the skill and knowledge that I acquired from training, I have specialized in supporting women throughout pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. By providing comprehensive prenatal care, assisting during labour and delivery, and offering postnatal care, I ensure the health and well-being of both mothers and infants. monitoring the progress of pregnancies, identifying any potential complications, and providing appropriate interventions or referrals when necessary. This leads to reduced maternal and infant mortality rates and improved overall health outcomes.
- Adolescent Education and Counselling: I work closely with adolescent girls to provide comprehensive education and counselling regarding sexual and reproductive health. I discuss topics such as puberty, menstruation, contraception, and healthy relationships. Also providing information about the physical and emotional changes that occur during pregnancy and childbirth. Such discussions have reduced the number of teen pregnancies and STDs in my community/country.
- Emotional Support: Adolescent pregnancy can be accompanied by emotional challenges and social stigma. I help in providing non-judgmental, empathetic, and confidential support to adolescents throughout their pregnancy journey. Helping them build confidence and self-esteem and ensure they have access to appropriate resources and support networks. I also work as a clinical instructor for nursing students during their clinical rotations in women’s health and maternity care. supervising and mentoring students, guiding them in providing comprehensive care to pregnant women, assisting in deliveries, and supporting postpartum recovery. As well as helping students develop their skills and knowledge in a hands-on clinical setting. This has led to a number of qualified students who are currently working in their own communities in providing maternal health care and providing adolescents with health care services
Q2. Midwifery is considered a sustainable healthcare profession with a long-term outlook…
- Global Need: The need for skilled maternal and newborn healthcare providers, including midwives, is a global concern. Midwives play a crucial role in providing essential and cost-effective care to women and their families during pregnancy, childbirth, and the postpartum period. With a growing global population, the demand for midwifery services is likely to continue.
- Education and Training: Midwifery education and training programs ensure the development of competent and skilled midwives. These programs evolve to meet changing healthcare needs and incorporate advancements in research and technology. The ongoing education and training of midwives contribute to their ability to provide quality care and adapt to emerging challenges and trends in maternal and newborn health.
- Integration within Healthcare Systems: Integrating midwifery services within healthcare systems is an important aspect of sustainability. When midwives are recognized and integrated as essential members of the healthcare team, with clear roles and responsibilities, their contribution to maternal and newborn health is maximized. This integration includes collaboration with other healthcare providers, appropriate referral systems, and supportive policies that enable midwives to practice to their full scope.
- Health Equity and Social Justice: Midwifery’s focus on promoting health equity and social justice contributes to its long-term sustainability. Midwives are advocates for women’s rights and empowerment, providing care that respects cultural, social, and individual preferences. By addressing the unique needs of diverse populations and promoting equitable access to care, midwifery plays a vital role in improving maternal and newborn health outcomes.
- Curriculum Development: Midwives can contribute their expertise to the development and review of nursing curricula, particularly in areas related to women’s health, obstetric care, and midwifery. They can ensure that the curriculum reflects current standards of midwifery practice, evidence-based guidelines, and the evolving needs of the community.
- Inter-professional Collaboration: Midwives can facilitate inter-professional education and collaboration within nursing schools. They can work alongside faculty from other healthcare disciplines to design interdisciplinary learning experiences, simulations, or case studies that encourage collaboration and teamwork among future healthcare professionals. This helps prepare nursing students to work effectively with midwives and other healthcare providers in delivering comprehensive care to women and families.
Q3. There are several changes taking place in midwifery that reflect the evolving healthcare landscape and emerging trends. Here are some changes in midwifery and the reasons behind them:
- 1. Integration of Technology: Midwifery is embracing technology to enhance care delivery and improve outcomes. Telehealth and digital platforms are being utilized to provide virtual consultations, remote monitoring, and education to pregnant individuals. Electronic health records and digital documentation systems streamline communication and information sharing among healthcare providers. The integration of technology aims to increase access to care, improve efficiency, and support evidence-based practice.
- 2. Collaborative Care Models: Collaborative care models are gaining prominence in midwifery practice. These models involve close collaboration between midwives, obstetricians, nurses, and other healthcare professionals to provide comprehensive and coordinated care. Inter-professional collaboration allows for shared decision-making, pooling of expertise, and improved patient outcomes. Collaborative care models also facilitate seamless transitions between different healthcare providers based on the individual’s needs.
- 3. Focus on Equity and Inclusion: Midwifery is increasingly recognizing the importance of equity, diversity, and inclusion. There is a growing emphasis on addressing disparities in maternal and newborn health outcomes, particularly among marginalized populations. Midwifery organizations and educational programs are working to increase diversity within the midwifery profession and ensure culturally sensitive care. Efforts are being made to address biases, promote informed consent, and provide inclusive care that respects individual identities and preferences.
- 4. Emphasis on Mental Health: Maternal mental health is receiving greater attention in midwifery practice. Midwives are increasingly trained to identify and support individuals experiencing perinatal mental health challenges such as depression, anxiety, and postpartum mood disorders. Screening tools and referral networks are being implemented to ensure timely intervention and support for mental health concerns. Midwives play a crucial role in providing holistic care that addresses both physical and emotional well-being.
Pestalozzi Ethos: Giving Back
Prisca not only helps people in her professional life, she also does personally. She is currently sponsoring two boys, the first is in High School, and the other boy is three years old whom she met when he was just six months old, from his mother who suffered from a serious mental illness. She also has two girls that she has sponsored through to grade twelve. She said:
“I got so much from Pestalozzi that I cannot even manage to pay them back. But the only way that I can pay them back is me helping the next person that is next to me.”
“Whatever little amount of money you have or whatever little resources that you have, you are able to help the next person.“
A Pestalozzi World education not only helps our Alumni to create and build new lives for themselves, but it also contributes to long-term stability and growth in their communities. To date, 90% of our Alumni have remained in their country of origin, most supporting their communities and/or economies with careers in the public service, running businesses, and volunteering – with 64% supporting their communities once they become Alumni.
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