University of Botswana School of Nursing in conjunction with Johns Hopkins School of Nursing recently hosted a three-day virtual conference under the theme ‘Nursing and Midwifery Workforce: A Catalyst for Achievement of Universal Health Coverage’.
As the first World Health Organization Collaborating Centre (WHOCC) amongst the four in Africa designated in 1990, UB School of Nursing serves as an important technical arm for WHO to achieve its mandate through engagement and partnership.
Speaking during the event, UB Vice Chancellor, Professor David Norris, paid tribute to nurses and midwives for their selfless, gallant commitment and care for their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Performing the official opening, Director of Universal Health Coverage and Life Course from WHO Africa Office in Brazzaville, Dr Kasonde Mwinga, reiterated that the theme for the conference could not have been more relevant especially given the devastating effects of COVID-19. Dr Mwinga also stated that nurses and midwives were pivotal in turning the tide for the achievement of the universal health coverage. She shared her experiences of working with nurses and how important they were as members of the health care team.
Giving a vote of thanks, Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dr Tshepo Machacha, thanked the participants and acknowledged the important role that nurses and midwives palyed in the delivery of health care services globally.
The conference attracted audiences from WHO headquarters in Geneva, Chief Nursing Officer, Elizabeth Iro and other staff members, WHO country office, Ministry of Health, and UB stakeholders and partners. The participants came from different WHOCCs from all the WHO regions.
The conference culminated with a scientific and business meeting of the WHOCC Global Network, where Johns Hopkins School of Nursing which, served as the secretariat for the past four years handed over the role to University of Technology Sydney, (UTS) Australia. The Midwifery Network also held its business meeting and engaged on how to improve midwifery education and practice in an effort to develop midwifery workforce that will be relevant in responding to the needs of women and children.
The conference was co-sponsored by JHPIEGO, University of Michigan School of Nursing and Columbia University, School of Nursing.