Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery: Aspiring for Growth
The Juba College of Nursing and Midwifery (JCONAM) was established in May 2010 as the first institution of its kind in South Sudan. In less than a decade, the college has grown from an initial class of 40 students to training over 300 nurses and midwives. Students at JCONAM are well supported by a diverse team of managers, tutors and auxiliary staff whose commitment and wealth of experience has been invaluable to the growth of the college.
Figure 1. JCONAM ICT room fully equipped with generous support of Canada and Sweden through UNFPA implemented by IMC.
Nurses and midwives in South Sudan face a unique set of challenges as healthcare professionals in a country emerging from more than 5 decades of civil war. The ravages of conflict in addition to environmental and social factors have resulted in the highest maternal mortality ratio in the world (2054 maternal deaths per 100,000 live births), with less than 1 in 5 deliveries attended by skilled birth attendants. In response to this disturbing situation, JCONAM was founded following an initiative from Dr Eluzai Hakim whose collaborative work with the Juba Link laid the groundwork for the college. This ethos of team work has seen several stakeholders including the Ministry of Health, United Nations Population Fund, Real Medicine Foundation, World Health Organization, Japan International Cooperation, United Nations Development Program and Global Fund Health Systems come together to contribute to the continued success of JCONAM.
Figure 2. Canadian Minister for International Development HE. Ms Marie-Claude Bibeau during a childbirth simulation by midwifery students. With HE Health Minister Dr. Riek Gai.
JCONAM facilities include a 200 capacity dormitory, a computer laboratory with access to online learning material and a fully equipped skills laboratory for clinical procedure training. This array of facilities is quite remarkable given the fact that prior to June 2011, the entire college was hosted by the Juba Public Health training Institute. According to Petronella Wawa, the principal tutor at JCONAM, the beginning was challenging. From unfurnished classrooms to the sweltering heat, several obstacles stood in the way but none could suppress the enthusiasm and motivation of students and staff.
JCONAM aims to produce professional nurses and midwives with the skills and knowledge required to meet the needs of a dynamic, growing population. Training is focused on reducing maternal, neonatal and child mortality and morbidity rates as well as increasing the percentage of skilled birth attendants in the country. Presently, the college consists of nursing and midwifery departments and aims to further diversify programs on offer including: Bachelor of Science degrees in Nursing and Midwifery and diploma courses in psychiatry and mental health nursing.
Images and information kindly contributed by; Fekadu Mazengia Alemu (IMC midwifery tutor).
JCONAM is kindly supported by the Canadian and Swedish governments, United Nations Population Agency (UNFPA) and International Medical Corps (IMC).