Ministry of Health and UB Collaborate to Certify Nurses in Midwifery Course

Ministry of Health and UB Collaborate to Certify Nurses in Midwifery Course

Over seven thousand children are delivered in Belize’s hospitals every year, most of them delivered by midwives. That’s why the Ministry of Health and Wellness is teaming up with the University of Belize to enroll eighteen registered nurses in a midwife certification course. Lizett Bell, Chief Nursing Officer in the Ministry, explained that the ministry is sending its third cohort of nurses through the fifteen-month course. She stressed that midwives play a critical role in the health system, making it all the more important that as many nurses as possible become certified. 

Lizett Bell, Chief Nursing Officer, Ministry of Health and Wellness: “This is our third cohort of nurse midwives. This program is a 15 month program and this time it is focused on training 18 nurses in the specialty of midwifery. This is for registered nurses and the university has been partnering with us for the last four years consistently with helping us to advance midwifery education in Belize. The specialty of midwifery is very important for us at the Ministry of Health and for the health system. Because we have the midwives in all our health facilities they provide support for labor and delivery and also for pre and post-natal care. As you know, in Belize we have approximately 7,800 deliveries annually and of that approximately 80% of those are done by midwives. So most of our maternal services are heavily concentrated with the support that we get from the midwives in our different health facilities.”

Bell said that, apart from an upgraded classification, nurses who successfully complete the course will also see a raise in pay.

Lizett Bell, Chief Nursing Officer, Ministry of Health and Wellness: “When nurses complete their specialization in any particular field they do move up the pay scale and they become nurse specialists. So for example these nurses that will come out after they complete the midwifery program they will become nurse specialists II midwives and they will also see a significant increase in their salary when it comes to the – based on the pay scale of the government system. There is a global shortage as you are well aware of nurses this is not peculiar to Belize. However the ministry have implemented several strategies to help us alleviate some of those shortages and one of them includes interventions like the current one where we support our nurses in providing training. As you are aware this agreement includes the provision of a scholarship which covers the tuition and the fees for the training program and it also includes a study leave for these nurses with their 80% salary. So that is one of the incentives that nurses have in Belize. When it comes to specialized training it is being provided through the Ministry of Health and with support from the Government of Belize. In addition to that we have expanded our scholarship program to increase the number of nurses entering the nursing education field and so that is going to assist us in the future for us to increase our numbers of nurses. We continue to get support for the temporary relief from the Cuban Brigade which we are appreciative of as an immediate intervention so we have put in strategies for immediate, medium-term, and long-term to support our nurses and to increase the number of cadre of nurses.”

The nurses enrolled in the course are all on scholarships provided by the Ministry.

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