MESSAGE FROM THE NATIONAL CHAIRPERSON OF THE SOUTH SUDAN NURSE AND MIDWIVES ASSOCIATION
May 5 is the Internationally recognized day for highlighting the work of Midwives. The International Confederation of Midwives (ICM) established the idea of the ‘International Day of the Midwife’ following suggestions and discussion among Midwives Associations in the late 1980s, then launched the initiative formally in 1992. This is an occasion for every individual Midwife to think about the many others in the profession, to make new contacts within and outside Midwifery, and to widen the knowledge of what Midwives do for the world. The theme for this year is “Together again; from evidence to reality”. This theme is a nod to the upcoming 33rd ICM Triennial Congress, where the global Midwife community will come together for the first time in more than five years. It also honors the efforts of Midwives and their Associations to action critical evidence like the State of the World’s Midwifery (SoWMy) 2021 towards meaningful change for the Midwifery Profession and the women and families cared for.
International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world annually every May 12, the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. The International Council of Nurses (ICN) commemorates this important day each year and encourages Nurses everywhere to do likewise. International Council of Nurses celebrates this event aiming to increase the public awareness about Nurses’ contribution towards the Health Care innovation.
The theme for IND 2023: “Our Nurses: Our Future” sets out what ICN wants for Nursing in the future to address the global Health challenges and improve global Health for all. It is an opportunity to learn from the lessons of the pandemic and translate these into actions for the future that ensure Nurses are protected, respected, and valued. It is expected that ‘the Our Nurses. Our Future’ campaign will shine the light on Nurses and on a brighter future, moving Nurses from invisible to valuable in the eyes of policy makers, the public, and all those who make decisions affecting the delivery and financing of health care.
Local Theme for South Sudan
For joint celebration of both these international days, the South Sudan Nurses and Midwives has adopted one theme “Our Nurses, Our Midwives, Our Future: Moving together from Evidence to Reality.” This theme embodies the crucial role that Nurses and Midwives play in shaping the future of Healthcare, not just in South Sudan, but across the globe, and using evidence and data to make a difference in the lives of the people of South Sudan
This Day of the Midwife/Nurse is a chance to celebrate the work that Midwives/Nurses around the world do, and to advocate for Midwifery/Nursing.
During May we celebrate both the International Day of the Midwife on 5 May and International Nurses Day on 12 May, which are opportunities to recognized the impact that the professions have on the community.
This year we will be honoring both professions with an event on Friday 12 May 2023 at 8:00 am(Marching)10:30 – 2:00 pm at Al Sabah Children Hospital.
As part of an advocacy, we would like to appeal to our government and partners to act on the following:
- Protect and Invest in the Midwifery and Nursing professions.
Building resilient Health care system that are capable of achieving SDGs and UHC requires investment in midwifery.
Better Health outcomes for women, improved access to care and lower Health care costs can result from investing in midwifery and respect their rights.
But the reality shows that Midwives/Nurses are underappreciated and their contributions to Health are not sufficiently acknowledged or valued. This undervaluation has led to severe workforce shortages of Midwives/Nurses.
- Ensure safe and Healthy working conditions and respect Nurses and Midwives.
The Health and well-being of Midwives/Nurses are paramount to the success and sustainability of our Health care system.
ICN/ICM Affirms that every Midwife/Nurse has the right to work in a Healthy and safe environment without risk of injury or illness resulting from that work.
However, the work environment of Health care workers, and particularly Midwives/Nurses, is considered to be one of the most hazardous occupational settings. Midwives/Nurses face range of challenges that negatively impact their Health and wellbeing, including pathogens exposure, long working hours and shift work, psychological distress, fatigue, occupational burnout, stigma, physical and psychological violence.
Violence against Midwives/Nurses is a growing concern within Health care setting worldwide and South Sudan in particular. Midwives/Nurses often face physical, verbal, and emotional abuse from patients, family members and even co-workers. These incidents can lead to physical and psychological harm, job dissatisfaction, and increased turnover.
As such, urgent action is required from our government and developmental partners to address the challenge they face, including unsafe working conditions, violence and understaffing.
- Recruit and retain Midwives/Nurses by ensuring fair and decent pay and positive practice environment.
The shortage of Midwives/Nurses is a significant concern in most countries including South Sudan. The problem is compounded by higher demand for Health care services, a limited supply of qualified Midwives/Nurses and increased desire of Midwives/Nurses to leave the profession due to high level of stress and burnout.
Despite the highlighting of Midwife’s/Nurse’ lifesaving work, there has been little or no action or planning on the long called-for pay increase for Nurses and Midwives.
Salary is a critical factor in attracting and retaining Midwives/Nurses. Studies cited in our Recover to Rebuild report (2023) shows that pay is a very strong drive of people’s intention to leave the profession.
Despite the critical role Midwives/Nurses play in Health care, they are often excluded from decision-making processes that affects patients care and outcome. This exclusion not only undervalues the contributions of Midwives/Nurses but can also lead to suboptimal patient outcomes.
- Recognize and Value Midwives’/Nurses’ skills, Knowledge, attributes and expertise
Midwifery/Nursing is a demanding and complex profession that is vital to the Health and well-being of women and families. In general, Midwives are viewed by the public as a highly trusted and essential profession. The truth is that only a small percentage of people are aware of the wide range of duties and responsibilities
that modern Midwives have, and as result, they do not fully comprehend the exceptional value that Midwifery provides to every woman in this country.
This poor understanding of the roles of Midwives/Nurses is expressed in a variety of negative ways. This includes being seen as subordinate to physicians; limited voice at the decision-making table, inadequate remuneration; blamed for poor outcomes and dysfunctional systems; and worst of all violence against them.
This gross undervaluing of midwives/Nurses leads to poor motivation, resentment and increased intention to leave whilst at the same time making an unattractive career choice
Action must be taken to demonstrate appreciation and valuing of Midwifery/Nursing skills, knowledge, attributes and expertise.
Increase public awareness of the roles and responsibilities of Midwives/Nurses is essential to help people understand the vital role that Midwives and Nurses play in Health care.
Final message to the public is that they should Value, Protect, Respect and Invest in our Midwives/Nurses for a sustainable future for Midwifery/Nursing Professions and Health Care as these are the majority Health Care Professionals
Message from Director General Nursing and Midwifery, MOH
I am delighted to bring you greetings as we plan the 4 Conference for Nursing and Midwifery. I am indeed happy to welcome all our nurses and midwives from across South Sudan to this conference. We continue to learn from these events and I look forward to successful and productive deliberation throughout the conference. The South Sudan Nurses and Nurses and Midwives Association is a new and fledgling association committed to ensuring that there is improvement in nursing and midwifery practice and that as nurses and midwives, we provide ethical, respectful and quality care to all the people of South Sudan Nurses and Midwives are needed now more than ever for better health care in this country.
The Ministry of Health would like to salute the South Sudan Nurses and Midwives Association for hosting this third Conference in South Sudan. This is a significant event since it is a good time for nurses and midwives to reflect on how they can make a difference in the delivery of health care. This has to be stronger and of a higher standard. Let us therefore use this opportunity to find innovative ways that we could improve practice and service ,On behalf of the Ministry of Health, I would like to congratulate all our nurses and midwives and I look forward to seeing their active participation at the conference. Best wishes for success.