The transformative scale up of nursing and midwifery education requires educational reform that addresses not only the quantity of nurses and midwives, but also the quality and relevance of training to achieve improvements in health outcomes. No matter how many individuals are educated and deployed, nurses and midwives cannot transform population health unless they are equipped with essential competencies for care delivery.

Review of existing nursing and midwifery educational curricula in the African region has shown much of the instruction to be inadequate for producing graduates competent to respond to national health needs, especially in primary health care settings to address millennium development goals 4, 5 and 6. In response, in 2009 the World Health Organization–Africa (WHOAFRO) initiated the development of prototype competency-based curricula for pre-service nursing and midwifery education.

A working meeting to validate three prototype competency-based curricula developed by WHOAFRO for nursing, midwifery, and combined nursing and midwifery education in the African region took place July 15-19, 2013 in Johannesburg. Participants included experts in nursing and midwifery education from institutions in South Africa, Malawi and Nigeria, as well as technical experts from WHO priority programs in the region. ICAP was represented by Janel Smith, curriculum specialist in the Global Nurse Capacity Building Program (GNCBP). Key outcomes of the meeting included the development of a validation checklist and use of the validation checklist to review and edit the three curricula for alignment with regional health priorities, relevance of learners’ competencies in line with their role expectation, and harmony of the developed curricula with existing WHO guidelines on the education of health workers. Following validation of the curricula, ICAP will continue to collaborate with WHOAFRO to begin advocacy, dissemination and implementation of the curricula in select African countries.

To learn more, join ICAP’s nursing curriculum webinar on August 8 (9-10am EST) for a guest presentation from Margaret Phiri, Med, RNM; Regional Advisor for Nursing and Midwifery, WHOAFRO.

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