The School of Maternal, Neonatal and Reproductive Health is one of the five schools within the Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (SMNRH). The School has 3 Departments: (1) Midwifery, (2) Neonatal Health, and (3) Reproductive Health. Jointly, these three departments offer programs with final awards in Midwifery, Neonatal and Reproductive Health at certificate, diploma and degree levels. The School offers one undergraduate programme (BSc in Midwifery), one Post basic Programme (BSc in midwifery), one Certificate programme (University Certificate in Midwifery) and three postgraduate programmes: Master of Science in Midwifery, master of Science in Reproductive Health and Doctor of Philosophy in Midwifery. The School’s programs are practice professional degrees, or certificates implying that the majorawards to students studying are given after students complete the theoretical aspects as well as the clinical or practical aspects of the programs. The School will soon commence a new programme: BSc in Neonatal Health.
The school is mandated to respond to current and emerging human resource needs for the delivery of professional midwifery neonatal and reproductive health; enhancing professional development in the midwifery profession; and, for improving the overall health of citizens and residents of Malawi and beyond. Therefore, preparing or educating the required numbers of personnel, types and quality of midwives Malawi needs is SMNRH’s priority as well as its operational challenge. The school adopted innovative ways of teaching midwifery, neonatal and reproductive health skills through simulation and evaluate students’ competence levels using Objective Structured Clinical Examinations (OSCE).
The focus for the midwifery department is to prepare midwives who can be effective leaders and function clinically at all levels of the health care delivery system, including central, district, rural and community hospitals but also work in private practice. To this end, the department is responsible for preparing competent midwives to offer midwifery care, pre-conception care including well woman gynecological care and family planning.
Depending on the background of program entrants, some of them enrolls in direct entry midwifery; others do midwifery in combination with other nursing, others study midwifery as a post graduate diploma after their first degree. The last option for midwifery is the university certificate offered to candidates who have pursued a diploma in nursing. The department also offers obstetric nursing to nursing students as they are in their nursing programs.
Considering that most of the maternal and child health related problems are preventable, and that the people who suffer the most because of poor access to health are women and children especially those from hard to reach areas, this department is instrumental in advocating for a paradigm change for unique interventions that will benefit the masses in hard to reach areas.
The components of SRH services are as follows: Maternal and Neonatal Health (including management of unsafe abortion); Young People’s Sexual and Reproductive health; Family Planning; Prevention and Management of STI/HIV AND AIDS; Prevention, early detection of and management of cervical prostate and breast cancer, Gender issues (male involvement, and harmful practices/domestic and sexual violence); and Management of obstetric fistula and Infertility.
This department offers all undergraduate and graduate neonatal health studies in existing programs for university certificate in midwifery, post basic degree in midwifery, Bachelor of Science in nursing and midwifery programs, the Bachelor of Science (DE), Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Midwifery Upgrading programmes, Master of Science in Midwifery and PhD in Midwifery program.
Besides servicing all the programs offering components of neonatal health sciences, the department has also developed a new program to allow specializations in neonatal care and graduate studies in neonatal health. This department also spearheads research to advance the field of neonatal sciences to explore; provide answers; develop, pilot and offer efficacious interventions that can change neonatal health outcomes.