Tackling maternal and child health a world away

    New UAlberta nursing project expands research collaborations in Ghana

    By Yolanda Poffenroth on March 29, 2017

    The University of Alberta has received nearly $1.2 million to fund a project that aims to address maternal and child health in Ghana.

    Led by Dr. Solina Richter, academic director of the global nursing office, Coming Together – Strengthening Partnerships between Ghana and Canada to Address Maternal and Child Health, is one of 23 winning projects that will be funded by the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Advanced Scholars (QES-AS) program.

    With the goal of developing a community of global nurse scholars and leaders, 24 doctoral researchers, postdoctoral fellows and early career researchers from Canada and Ghana will be supported.

    The project will develop nursing leaders which will enable them to engage effectively in health policy and decision-making, and will be part of a larger partnership between the University of Alberta Faculty of Nursing and the University of Ghana School of Nursing and Midwifery.

    Ghana, along with other West African nations, has recognized the need to prepare nurse leaders as a way to enhance the health care system, promote healthy lifestyles and environment, improve the health and status of women and girls, plan and implement nutrition services, and improve overall governance.

    Currently, the maternal mortality estimates range from 350 to 450 per 100,000 live births in Ghana, and child health indicators remain poor. Improving the health of mothers, babies and children is one of the priorities of the Ghanaian health sector and the Ghana National Plan.

    The development of nurses is widely regarded as a successful strategy that contributes to achieving better health for all, especially women and children, greater gender equality, and stronger economies.

    “We are currently collaborating with the University of Ghana to develop the first PhD in Nursing program in Ghana to service the English-speaking West African countries,” says Richter. “Our project is really a stepping-stone towards the development of this PhD program as it will provide extensive capacity building opportunities to ensure that current University of Ghana School of Nursing and Midwifery students and faculty are well positioned to implement and sustain their nursing program.”

    The global nursing scholars involved in the Coming Together project will be integrated into the health system, academia, and health industry to improve the overall health of mothers, newborns and children in Ghana.

    For a complete list of the winning proposals, please visit www.queenelizabethscholars.ca/winning-proposals.

    The Canadian Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Scholarships (QES) is managed through a unique partnership of Universities Canada, the Rideau Hall Foundation (RHF), Community Foundations of Canada (CFC) and Canadian universities. The QES-AS is made possible with financial support from IDRC and SSHRC.