School of Midwifery Programme returns after 3 year hiatus as part of UWI Five Islands course

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The Antigua State College’s School of Midwifery Programme, dormant for three years, has been resurrected and relocated to the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus.

Under the leadership of Laurellyn Williams, former Head of the Antigua State College’s School of Nursing and Midwifery, the program commenced on January 22, 2024, and is set to conclude on August 1, 2025.

Previously integrated into the three-year Registered Nursing (RN) Programme at the Antigua State College, midwifery training faced a hiatus due to the program’s transition to a bachelor’s degree.

Consequently, nursing training was transferred to the University of the West Indies Five Islands Campus, and the Antigua State College’s School of Nursing was dissolved in 2020 with no immediate midwifery training plans.

The revived midwifery training has been extended from fifteen to eighteen months, in line with global standards and recommendations from the International Confederation of Midwives (ICM).

Eleven nurses from various healthcare sectors, including the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre, Fiennes Institute, Clarevue Psychiatric Hospital, and Community Nursing Services, are currently enrolled in the program.

A three-year bond is mandated for nurses undertaking the training, ensuring retention in the country post-completion.

Upon successful program completion, licensure exams are required for midwifery practice.

The Ministry of Health collaborated with the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF) to review and update the Midwifery curriculum, aligning it with ICM recommendations, focusing on competency rather than content. Identified competencies include autonomous practice, facilitating normal birth processes, providing anticipatory guidance, and managing complicated pregnancies. The ICM, an international organization, sets standards for midwifery education and practice, aiming to ensure globally qualified midwives provide comprehensive sexual, reproductive, maternal, newborn, and adolescent health services.

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