CQU provides workshops to improve maternal health outcomes in Timor-Leste

13 January 2023
CQUniversity's School of Nursing' Midwifery and Social Sciences (SNMSS) in Mackay has partnered with Rotary to deliver workshop program to a group of midwives or nurses from Timor-Leste.

The workshops have been specifically designed by CQU and Rotary to provide participants with the skills and knowledge to deliver better maternal and infant health outcomes.

The workshops will be delivered at the CQUniversity Mackay City campus over a five-week period to 13 midwives who applied to participate.

The group recently arrived in Australia to complete the program' with funding provided by Rotary.

Workshops will be delivered through a variety of modules with a Rotary midwife and CQU nursing and midwifery academics leading the theoretical and practical delivery.

Modules will cover leadership skills' maternal and neonatal care based on evidence-based practice to assist with the management of deteriorating women and babies.

Participants will also visit the Mackay Hospital for a tour of the facilities and will hear from the Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officer for Queensland Health as well as the Director of Midwifery' Queensland Health via a zoom session.

The aim of the program is to equip the participants with new skills and knowledge that can be applied to their practice within various healthcare settings in Timor-Leste.

The workshop program was developed by Rotary as a way to help improve maternal and infant mortality rates in Timor-Leste' one of the world's poorest nations with a population of around 1.4 million people.

CQUniversity nursling lecturer and Rotary member Adeniyi Adeleye was instrumental in making the program possible by connecting Rotary and the CQU SNMSS.

Mr Adeleye explained that Rotary was committed to delivering programs that support disadvantaged communities and that they were determined to help make a difference by implementing a program designed to improve health outcomes for mothers and babies in Timor-Leste.

"UNICEF data shows that the maternal mortality rate in the nation is 142 per 100'000 live births.
"This is a very high mortality rate' especially when compared to Australia where data shows us that the rate is five in every 100'000 live births'" he said.

"Through my membership of Rotary and within my role here in the School of Nursing' Midwifery and Social Sciences at CQU I realised that a partnership could be developed to help bring about change by providing nursing colleagues in the region with additional training and support.

"The management within the School were very supportive of the proposal and Rotary applied and gained a grant to make the program a reality."

Dr Lisa Wirihana' Head of College for the School of Nursing' Midwifery and Social Science said that it was important for the School to partner on initiatives such as this' so that midwifery and nursing colleagues in developing nations could benefit from the education resources currently available in Australia.

"The School was very keen to support this initiative and to provide our resources' facilities and experts to facilitate the delivery of the workshops.

"The participants are already skilled practitioners and will further benefit from the educational and professional development experience that they will receive in Mackay.

"Our aim is to provide them with additional skills and knowledge that they can then share with their colleagues' women and their communities in order to reduce maternal and neonatal mortality and injury rates'" said Dr Wirihana.

Ana Das Neves Soares who practices as a midwife and nurse in Timor-Leste said that she was happy to be a part of the program and that the learnings from the program would help her better support patients and that the knowledge gained could also be shared with colleagues.

"It is a really good opportunity to be a part of this experience and I hope that I can return home with new knowledge to share with other nurses and midwives in the community I work in.

"I hope that what I learn will be able to help me to make mothers and their babies safer before' during and after birth'" she said.

"On behalf of all the participants we would like to thank CQUniversity and Rotary for the opportunity to undertake this program."

Throughout the five-week program that will end in early February' participants will be immersed in full-day intensive classes including theory-based learnings and practical clinical simulations.

Upon completion' participants will receive a certificate of completion from the University.