Malawi faces a human resources health crisis, with a 65 percent vacancy rate for nursing and midwifery positions in the public sector and an ever increasing disease burden to manage. Between 2004 and 2010, nursing education institutions in Malawi increased the annual intake of student nurses and midwives by 22 percent, producing a high quantity of nurses and midwives, but also hindering the quality of education due to increased student to teacher ratios and limited teaching and learning opportunities within clinical settings. As a result, clinical mentors are urgently needed in order to provide supportive supervision to newly graduated nurses and midwives, and to ensure that they are adequately prepared for clinical practice.
The Nurses and Midwives Council of Malawi has responded to this need by collaborating with ICAP’s Global Nurse Capacity Building Program (GNCBP), the University of East Anglia, and I-TECH to launch the Clinical Mentorship Initiative in the country. The initiative was officially launched in Lilongwe, Malawi on April 17, 2013, with attendees that included the Deputy President of the Country, the Minister and Deputy Minister of Health, the Permanent Secretary, and other governmental dignitaries. Among the event’s presenters were Dr. Lynn Middleton, ICAP’s GNCBP Nursing Education Partnership Initiative (NEPI) Regional Nursing Advisor and Gertrude Chipungu, country representative of ICAP in Malawi.
The Deputy President of Malawi commended the Nurses and Midwives Council for the timely introduction of a Clinical Mentorship Approach to reinforce effective clinical teaching and supportive supervision, and extended his appreciation for the support of the ICAP’s Global Nurse Capacity Building Program in Malawi. He acknowledged that the approach would improve the competencies of new nursing and midwifery graduates to provide quality care and to effectively address the health needs of the country. He concluded by stating, “Today is another great day in the history of Malawi as the launch of the mentorship program marks a milestone in nursing and midwifery education in Malawi.”