Continuing a Tradition of Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Education: UGHE’s GNLM Program Sparks Transformation in Healthcare Delivery

GLNM participants in class at Butaro Campus
GLNM participants in class at Butaro Campus

In the picturesque hills of Butaro, Northern Rwanda, 30 future nursing and midwifery leaders embarked on their transformative journey at the University of Global Health Equity (UGHE) on September 25, 2023. This marked the start of the third cohort of the Global Leadership in Nursing and Midwifery Program (GLNM), hosted by the Center for Nursing and Midwifery. The nine-month program, starting with a one-week in-person training, promises to reshape healthcare leadership across the continent and beyond, emphasizing equity and empowerment. 

This diverse cohort represents Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs), including Liberia, Sierra Leone, Lesotho, Malawi, Haiti, Bermuda, Uganda, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya, and Rwanda, making up 50% of the group. These dedicated nurse leaders come from a variety of healthcare settings, including hospitals, training institutions, and research facilities, all united in their commitment to making a positive impact on healthcare.  

Judy Khanyola, Chair of the Center for Nursing and Midwifery at UGHE, sheds light on the program’s unique essence. “This program focuses on uniquely building the leadership skills of nurses and midwives, the frontline health professionals delivering healthcare in Africa,” she says, emphasizing that their crucial role in direct patient care endows them with a distinct perspective. With honed leadership skills, they can elevate the quality of health services.  

What sets GLNM apart is its predominantly online nature, allowing nurses and midwives to continue working while undertaking professional development. As Judy puts it, UGHE doesn’t remove them from their workplaces; instead, it innovatively nurtures their growth, ensuring they remain the lifeblood of healthcare delivery. 

The significance of this program resonates beyond individual growth; it ripples through communities, addressing health inequities on local and global scales. Students engage in Quality Improvement Projects that tackle specific healthcare issues, reducing these inequities in tangible ways. Rwanda has already recognized the impact, placing the Global Leadership in Nursing and Midwifery Program on a pedestal of national recognition.  

Vera Kabanda, a student on the program from Malawi, encapsulates the transformative potential of GLNM. With a nursing background and years of dedication to improving health outcomes, she envisions the program enhancing her ability to lead, especially in times of crises like the cyclone in her country that challenged her leadership skills. “Nurses’ roles should extend beyond response; we must be professionally and personally prepared,” Vera asserts.  

For Arineitwe Edward, a Ugandan nursing professional who calls himself a nurse chosen by God to love and serve, the program symbolizes access to knowledge and wisdom that can unlock potentials and support others. Edouard believes in the power of global leadership, recognizing it as a pathway to develop as a change agent, advocate for equitable healthcare, and empower nurses and midwives to lead.  

As he aptly points out, “Change starts with me.” Nurses and midwives have long been underrepresented in leadership and governance, but with GLNM’s guidance, Edouard envisions a future where they play a pivotal role in transforming healthcare delivery.  

Ruth Tuyisenge, a Rwandan nursing professional, aims to place people at the core of healthcare services. Her leadership goal is to ensure that community members receive the care they deserve. As she embarks on her journey with GLNM, she seeks to enhance her ability to communicate effectively, employ a multisectoral approach, and champion equity in all her endeavors. Ruth eloquently summarizes her mission: “Community care should be the cornerstone of our efforts. 

Challenges abound, including shortages of nurses and midwives, but GLNM participants are armed with newfound knowledge and skills to combat these issues. Their collective vision is to create a more equitable and impactful healthcare landscape, where nurses and midwives stand as leaders, change agents, and advocates for the most vulnerable.  

As this third cohort embarks on their GLNM journey, they carry with them the hopes and aspirations of health professionals across Africa and beyond. Their pursuit of leadership excellence promises to illuminate the path to a brighter, more equitable future for all.