South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance
WHO CC involvement: Michele Rumsey, Amanda Neill, Professor James Buchan, and Jodi Thiessen.
The South Pacific Chief Nursing and Midwifery Officers Alliance (SPCNMOA) began as the South Pacific Chief Nursing Officers Alliance (SPCNOA) formed in 2004, incorporating Midwifery Officers in 2006. Through the partnership between the World Health Organization Western Pacific Regional Office (WHO WPRO), SPCNMOA and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre at UTS (WHO CC UTS), the Alliance aims to enhance nursing and midwifery effectiveness through promoting and improving population health in the region.
SPCNMOA intends to achieve this aim by raising the quality and relevance of nursing, midwifery and health leadership in health services, as well as nursing and midwifery education. This requires close collaboration between members as well as academic, regulatory and service partners through information sharing, capacity building, education and service projects, and research.
The WHO CC UTS was named the Secretariat of the SPCNMOA in 2008, supporting member countries and coordinating actions to achieve the vision and mission of SPCNMOA. The WHOCC UTS has since contributed to more than 50 projects in 25 countries working towards universal health coverage. The relationship between SPCNMOA and the WHO CC UTS continues to be strong and collaborative.
Regular teleconferences to discuss projects, regional issues and successes are held throughout the year. Then, every two years the SPCNMOA meets face to face to discuss national and regional strategies for nursing and midwifery for the South Pacific. The meeting is held in conjunction with the South Pacific Nurses Forum (SPNF). In 2018 the meeting was held in Cook Islands in October. With previous meetings being held in the Cook Islands 2004, Samoa 2006, Sydney 2008, Auckland 2010, Melbourne 2012, Tonga 2014, and Solomon Islands 2016.
The meetings bring together chief nursing and midwifery officers, senior leaders in regulation and education to update, discuss and plan effective programs for the Pacific in regulation/ education/ legislation/ service delivery in the following areas:
- Transforming health workforce education in support of universal health coverage.
- Strengthening regional governmental networks to improve communication, strategic planning for improved health systems strengthening including primary health care and sustainable development goals (SDGs) for overall population health.
- Regional emergency and disaster preparedness in the face of public health threats, climate change, and funding possibilities associated with this.
- Maternal and child health.
- Non – Communicable Diseases.
- Antimicrobial resistance.
The following meeting recommendations have been prioritised to address these ongoing challenges, SPCNMOA is committed to:
- providing an environment to support and encourage nursing and midwifery leadership through peer support, development of effective partnerships and networks, and continuing to apply for Leadership Fellowship Programs and funding.
- health workforce policies need to ensure investments in building skills and creating jobs are linked, to maximise inclusive economic growth. Nurses and midwives of the South Pacific recognise this requires a whole-of-government approach, involving ministries of labour, finance, education and health, as well as funders, professional associations, trade unions, the private sector and civil society. In line with WHO Global strategic directions for strengthening nursing and midwifery 2016-2020.
- supporting the UN High Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth.
- addressing efficient, effective and affordable management of NCDs using a primary health approach with population wellness based interventions in collaboration with families, communities and other key stakeholders.
- developing antibiotic country usage and compliance policies, explore expanding nursing curriculums, work with WHO and develop across government strategies on Antimicrobial resistance
- strengthen midwifery leadership, practice, regulation and associations within the Pacific, start by establishing stronger links with International Confederation of Midwifes.
- increase and sustain the capacity of preparedness contingency plans for use in situations such as disasters and outbreaks including vector borne diseases. Incorporate financial requirements/budget information for Health Ministries to cover training, equipment and human resources.
- discuss opportunities to include disaster management within educational programs to build nurses and midwives resilience.
- explore MOH engagement policy for nurses and midwives involved in disasters.
- review each country’s legislations and regulations impacting nursing and midwifery services, understanding the gaps and barriers in the legislation.
- educational quality, accreditation, competencies, practice safety and standards at rural, remote, country, sub-regional, and regional levels.
- examine and define scope of practice of health assistant personnel in the Pacific.
- explore regulatory mechanisms together to develop an MOU/DOA template to enable registered nurses, midwives and educators to gain clinical experience through country to country agreements
SPCNMOA is also represented at national, regional and global meetings to ensure the needs and priorities of South Pacific nurses and midwives are heard. SPCNMOA has been recognized as an integral part of the Director of Clinical Services meeting.
A general recommendation coming from these discussions are that the Directors of Clinical Services:
- acknowledge the need for a regional mechanism for nursing and midwifery to provide continuing professional development, capacity building for training, protocols and standards development.
The SPCNMOA has presented needs and priorities of the region’s nurses and midwives to the Pacific Health Ministers Meetings.
Decisions coming from all these meetings are then communicated to the WHO Regional Committee meeting. The Regional Committee consists of representatives from the Region’s Member States and Associate Members who meet annually. This in turn feeds into the global WHO meetings at the World Health Assembly where world health strategic directions are developed.
Since the SPCNMOA was formed the WHO CC UTS has observed an increase in confidence, leadership skill and motivation of its members. It is a collaboration that continues to grow, set strategic directions and actions useful work in the region.
The full SPCNMOA report of the most recent meeting and photographs will be available on the website: www.spcnmoa.com
Research to explore nursing and midwifery leadership in the South Pacific
From 2009 –2017, the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Nursing, Midwifery and Health Development at the University of Technology Sydney (WHO CC UTS) secured Australian Government funding for the WHO CC UTS Fellowships (AAF) Program which aims to develop leadership to address SDGs, UHC and priority country issues, and build partnerships across the Pacific. The AAF was carried out in partnership with SPCNMOA who are leading health professionals across 12 countries in the South Pacific. A qualitative study is now being carried out with participants from 9 countries in Pacific.