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Foreign midwives visit Canberra for leadership course

As part of a project that aims to develop and improve the leadership skills of midwives, professionals from three South Pacific countries recently attended a course at the University of Canberra (UC).

Nine midwives from Fiji, Samoa and Tonga took part in the project, titled Leadership Development for Midwives of South Pacific Countries.

UC associate professor of midwifery Jenny Browne said the course encouraged the midwives to assess their abilities individually and collectively, focusing on relevant theories, models and skills for leadership.

Browne said: "The content and processes of this short course were designed to facilitate a personal and professional consideration and growth of midwifery responsibilities and realities, and potential growth for the participants and their colleagues through skill and knowledge transfer on return to their country.”

The attendees also discussed areas of concern and shared methods from their countries.

Salome Veilwa, a midwife from Fiji, said the group came to Canberra to exchange ideas and can now go back home and discuss better maternity service strategies with colleagues.

Akenese Siaki, from Samoa, said she enjoyed the opportunity to learn from fellow midwives. "We have learnt a lot from each other, so when we go back, we'll keep on networking and keep in touch with each other and share the knowledge we have with the midwifery fellowship.”

Browne said one of the important takeaways from the project was an opportunity to provide mentorship arrangements. "We matched each midwife up with a local midwife who had agreed to be a mentor," she said. "We're hoping that mentor relationship is ongoing."

The course was designed by the university and the Australian College of Midwives and sponsored by a Rotary International Global Grant through Rotary District 9710 (Canberra) and District 9920 (Auckland). Rotary International plans to provide similar programs over the next two years.

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