The opening session of the fifth “Safe Mothers and Newborns” leadership workshop, held on 18 November in Rabat, Morocco, was led by the director and deputy director of Morocco’s National School of Public Health (ENSP), Mounim Belalia and Amina Essolbi, together with Núria Casamitjana, the education director at the Barcelona Institute for Global Health (ISGlobal) and Raquel Gonzalez, maternal health researcher at ISGlobal.
This regional edition of the workshop, organised in collaboration with the ENSP, focused on the French-speaking countries of Africa and drew 70 participants from 14 countries: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ivory Coast, Guinea, Madagascar, Mali, Morocco, Mauritania, Senegal, Togo, Tunisia and Niger. The participants were professionals in managerial positions at a wide range of organisations, including health ministries, United Nations agencies, NGOs, academic and research institutions, and the private sector.
During the weeklong workshop, the participants studied the main factors and trends affecting maternal and neonatal mortality worldwide and broadened their knowledge about interventions designed to improve health and survival. They also discussed issues related to maternal and reproductive health in vulnerable groups such as adolescents and migrant women.
Marlene Joannie Bewa, one of the workshop facilitators, described the programme as follows: “This is more than a training workshop; it’s a place where participants can meet up, share their experiences and discuss their work. The fact that I was a student in this programme in 2016 and have come back this year as a facilitator just goes to illustrate the impact the programme has had on my career and professional development.”
The workshop, which has been held previously in Barcelona (Spain), Boston (United States), Nairobi (Kenya) and Antigua (Guatemala), is organised by an academic consortium coordinated by ISGlobal and the Maternal Health Task Force at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (MHTF-HSPH) and the Aga Khan University (AKU).