NAMS’ Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences students with their mentors
Supporting Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences Program at NAMS
It has been more than a year since the Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program was introduced in Nepal. The program is slowly gaining recognition, but there is still much work to be done to effectively increase the number of skilled, competent midwives who will reduce maternal and neonatal mortality rates in the coming days. The government of Nepal and partners remain invested in the program, with high hopes of effectiveness in the area of maternal and newborn health.
Within this program, RMF Nepal’s current priority is to support the Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) program at the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), Bir Hospital Nursing Campus. We have been continually supporting the NAMS midwifery program from its inception, including the provision of 1 student scholarship, as well as learning materials and shelving/storage for the skills lab and library.
BMS new first-year students celebrating a birthday at NAMS
Second Class of BMS Students Enrolled
14 Students Admitted
After the successful completion of their first year of studies, the Bachelor of Midwifery Sciences (BMS) students at NAMS and KU have been promoted to their second year. A class of new students has been enrolled for their first year after tough competition in the entrance examination. 14 students have been admitted to form the second BMS class at the National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS). NAMS is proud to be a pioneer in starting the midwifery education program and also the first institution to enroll the second class. The new students are very enthusiastic, as they are being mentored by an experienced midwife, Margaret Walsh, and other highly experienced nursing teachers of Nepal in both their clinical and theoretical studies.
Laerdal team demonstrating a simulation exercise during the workshop
Introduction of Simulation-Based Education in Midwifery
Difficult Procedures Practiced through Simulation
Laerdal Medical is an organization that manufactures lifelike mannequins for health workers to practice life-saving skills in preparation for emergencies. Laerdal has also established a simulation lab where medical practitioners and students can practice the skills repeatedly so that they are competent in those skills.
The Simulation-Based Education Kickoff Workshop was organized by GIZ and the Ministry of Health to introduce Laerdal tools and simulation-based education to all the stakeholders. At the workshop, held on March 26, 2018, Laerdal also exhibited their models, such as Mama Natalie, Mama Birthie, and Mama U, to practice different procedures. Although the students have already practiced simulation knowingly or unknowingly, Laerdal’s tools would provide simulation in a very systematized way, where the students would be monitored for specific procedures and encouraged to self-evaluate in order to continue improving. The Chief of the Curative Division of the Ministry of Health chaired the workshop with other distinguished guests from the ministry, and Laerdal South Asia Manager Unni Silkoset committed to help the consortium in every possible way and explained that the company has plans to establish simulation-based laboratories in each province of Nepal in the coming days.
Simulation-based education is intended to be introduced into the midwifery education program in Nepal. This midwifery education is based on the social model of care, where a woman receives dignified care according to her choice. Currently, clinical practicum areas are limited, and they are shared with nursing students. Simulation-based education could alleviate these limitations by replacing 50% of clinical practice, as several procedures can be practiced and the skills can be learned as real. In addition, because students are rarely exposed to complex cases during their clinical practice, difficult procedures could be practiced through simulation, which would be an added advantage.
Affecting Large-scale Change
As the number of participating universities grows and their capacity is increased through educational materials, technology, faculty training, and more, the government of Nepal and consortium of partners, including RMF, believes that a large-scale change can be affected in women’s and neonatal health through the increasing numbers of well qualified midwives in the country.
1. Address gaps in human resources, including faculty development
2. Provide scholarships for students from underserved communities
3. Support infrastructure development: i.e. classrooms, hostel facility
4. Acquire Skills Lab/Equipment (dummy/ anatomical models)
In 2006, Nepal’s Ministry of Health and Population (MOHP) introduced the National Policy of Skilled Birth Attendants with an aim to bring about sustainable development and reduce the mother and child mortality rates. In 2009, MOHP finalized its selection of 4 universities to pioneer midwifery education as a professionally accredited degree in Nepal. These universities are:
- B.P. Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS),
- Kathmandu University (KU),
- National Academy of Medical Sciences (NAMS), and
- Patan Academy of Health Sciences (PAHS).
It was agreed that the universities would establish professional midwifery education as a separate faculty within the university and offer a bachelor’s degree in midwifery as a professionally accredited course. The curriculum would be proposed by each university to the Nepal Nursing Council (NNC) for review and finalization. The NNC would offer accreditation to the proposed curriculum only if it was confirmed to be consistent with ICM/WHO international standards.