GAIA Nursing Scholars Rising
Upon graduation from university, Mirriam was keenly aware of a sobering statistic: Malawi has the world’s highest preterm birth rate in the world at 18% with prematurity contributing to 36% of all neonatal deaths. Determined to use her training to improve the health of mothers and newborns, Mirriam honed and perfected her skills in Kangaroo Mother Care (KMC). She gained clinical experience at Mulanje Mission Hospital, which is known as the most reliable nursery in the district and acts as a referral center for all preterm babies. Time and time again, Mirriam witnessed the difference KMC service makes to reducing mortality among stable premature neonates.
In 2014, Mirriam transferred to Mlambe Hospital and brought her passion, leadership and expertise with her. Noting gaps in the quality of KMC service provision at her new site, Mirriam consulted with hospital management and, with their support, started advocating for additional resources. When GAIA announced a new annual grant competition for GAIA Scholars to improve quality of care at their worksites, she submitted a proposal and was awarded a $1,000 grant to improve KMC at Mlambe Hospital. Mirriam’s project provided training and simulations to hospital staff on all levels, secured new adjustable beds from within the hospital, and purchased calibrated cups, weighing scales, and disinfection buckets. KMC guidelines, monitoring charts, and reporting tools were all assembled in a file for quick reference and monthly reporting, along with an admission and discharge book to ensure continuity of care. On average, 240 moms and their babies are served per year.
During the handover ceremony of the project to the hospital, management members of the hospital, GAIA officials and invited guests were impressed. One invited guest was so pleased with Mirriam’s vision and leadership, they offered her a scholarship to support her postgraduate studies.
Just last week, Mirriam sent us an update: “I have just completed my first year of study and I am the only one with a scholarship in the class of seven people. I do not take that for granted and I give thanks for the passion for my job and GAIA for the grant which later provided an opportunity for me to rise.”
We admire Mirriam and all the GAIA Scholars, for the work they do. And we thank you for your support of these fine young people.
GAIA CEO and President