I know I cannot make sweeping statements in midwifery education in developing countries after just two weeks in Karachi, but I have come away with two main thoughts about what we can do in Western countries to support our midwifery sisters.
One of the main problems that Rafat and her team (of one) has is lack of time. She is so busy with dealing with day-to-day operational issues both on a local and national level that she has very little time to sit down and go through all the detailed processes that are involved with curriculum development. And when she does get around to dealing with issues such as developing new programs, she 'wastes' so much time re-inventing the wheel...
What I would like to see us in Western countries do is share our resources such as curriculum and course outlines. I am not talking about Pakistan replicating our programs but rather being able to take our ideas and processes, and adjusting them to fit the Pakistan context.
I am NOT saying that developing countries should base their programs on what we do in the Western world. But there are elements of all midwifery programs that are generic, so lets help each other as much as we can by sharing these elements.
The second thing I think we need to do is to mentor our colleagues....both in terms of program development and academic scholarship. This needs to include acting as an intermediary or advocate, editor or co-author on papers for publication (especially when English is not the midiwfe's first language), sounding board for curriculum development, research adviser and so on.
It is vital for midwifery academics to get their research published so the world has a better understanding of their work. Unfortunately, all the "credible" academic midwifery journals are English and based in the UK, USA or Australia. So it can be very difficult for midwives in developing countries because English is not their first language, and they just do not have the time to focus on writing. If nothing else, offering editorial support is one thing you can do.
I am also thinking about how we should support midwifery journals that are based in developing countries...we need to lift these journals so they have an academic equality with Western journals. One way we can do this is by publishing our own work in these journals, not just the journals that give us the most 'brownie points'. I will have a look at what journals are available, and write about them in a future post.
What other things do you think we can do to support midwifery education in developing countries?