WHO CC UTS celebrates two important milestones
The World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development at the University of Technology, Sydney (WHO CC UTS) recently achieved redesignation as a technical arm of WHO.
Continuing its work to strengthen nursing and midwifery in the region, the WHO CC UTS hosted an AusAID Australian Leadership Awards Fellowship (ALA) program in June. Twelve participants from six South Pacific countries attended the intensive ALA workshops which focussed on developing leadership skills and action plans that will improve the quality of healthcare in their home countries.
WHO CC UTS Director of Operations and Development Michele Rumsey said, "The faculty has a long history of involvement with WHO and we've built trusting relationships with our Pacific nursing and midwifery colleagues. The redesignation will allow us to continue to build on our success over the next four years."
"We were delighted to receive the news," said Dean of the Faculty of Nursing, Midwifery and Health, and Head of the WHO CC UTS, Professor John Daly. “Redesignation as a WHO Collaborating Centre is a very prestigious achievement, and is a testament to the centre's outstanding contributions to regional health development."
Designated as a WHO CC for the Western Pacific Region in 2008, the UTS centre is one of only two nursing and midwifery ‘institutions of excellence’ in Australia formally recognised by WHO as part of its global network. Over the past four years, the centre has coordinated and been involved with almost 50 projects across 37 countries, with a focus on developing human resources, education, regulation, policy and capacity building in health care.
The centre collaborates with WHO on projects to develop nursing and midwifery health planning; build leadership capacity, research based education and leadership programs for nurses and midwives; improve the quality of health care and disease prevention; and develop better health systems, including human resources for health in the Western Pacific Region.
In 2009, 2011 and 2012, WHO CC UTS secured Federal Government funding to become a designated Australian host organisation for the AusAID ALA program, developing leadership, addressing priority regional issues and building partnerships and linkages with developing countries.
Hosted in conjunction with the South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance, the program consists of a 12-day workshop and extensive pre- and post-workshop activities, including mentoring to assist participants implement the action plans they develop during the study program in their home countries. Support for the Fellows continues over the following 18 months.
"You work on something practical and learn to look at yourself as a leader," said Tonga’s Chief Nurse and program participant, Sela Paasi. "At the end we own the project and can achieve it."
Problems being addressed by participating countries include maternal mortality rates in Papua New Guinea, infection control methods in Nauru and Niue, and improving health workers’ skills in the Solomon Islands.
By the end of 2012, 70 future leaders from 12 countries will have been through the program. Since the 2009 program, many of the Fellows have gained senior positions within the Ministry of Health in their countries. Michele Rumsey says, “It is incredibly rewarding to see how the Fellows take their knowledge and develop plans to deliver far-reaching and lasting benefit to their communities."