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The PNG Midwifery Leadership Buddy Program; bringing midwives together

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      Background

      The PNG Midwifery Leadership Buddy Program aims to improve maternal and newborn health outcomes in Papua New Guinea (PNG), by strengthening midwifery leadership. Participating midwives from PNG and Australia, form buddy pairs and undertake 4 days of leadership training in Port Moresby. Each pair also commits to a 12-month online, peer-support relationship. During this time, they develop a small quality improvement project together. Two cohorts of midwives (23 in total) have completed the program and were invited to participate in an evaluation.

      Methods

      Semi-structured interviews were conducted over the telephone or via an online platform. The interviews were audio recorded, transcribed and then thematically analysed.

      Results

      Twenty midwives participated in the evaluation. Four major themes emerged from the qualitative data: (1) Building leadership capacity, (2) Strengthening Midwifery, (3) Positive impacts for women and babies in PNG and, (4) Barriers and challenges. Participants reported increased confidence for leadership, action and advocacy. In addition, the program resulted in tangible projects that are improving maternity care in PNG. Participants also identified a number of challenges. These were usually related to technological or cultural barriers that limited communication. The Covid-19 pandemic also had a significant impact and, in some situations, diverted the focus away from the program.

      Conclusion

      The PNG Midwifery Leadership Buddy Program offers an innovative model for building midwifery leadership capacity. Most midwives who participated in the program valued the experience and believed it benefited them professionally and personally. While there were some barriers, the program resulted in supportive partnerships and tangible projects that promoted quality maternity care.
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